Imagine getting off from a hard day of work and getting on the bus to go grocery shopping for your family of four. How many grocery bags do you think you would bring home? Four, five, eight? For many Winston-Salem inhabitants, bringing home more than two grocery bags (or what you can fit in your lap) full of food to feed their families is not an option.
Many people living in Winston-Salem take the public transit bus daily, whether it is to commute to and from work, or to go to the grocery store to feed their families. But while shopping, these individuals have to keep one thing in mind: no more than two bags or no bus ride home. Why? Because it is just not allowed (except in the case that the driver makes an exception for them).
And what if you have a purse? Then you can only take one grocery bag. This largely unknown issue is a huge setback for many Winston-Salem residents. A lot of Winston-Salem families struggle with money and it would be too expensive and simply financially irresponsible to buy another bus ticket for a child to come with them just so they can take two more grocery bags home.
This issue can be fixed easily by creating new storage space in Winston-Salem buses and changing the rules to allow more than two grocery-sized bags/only what can fit on your lap on Winston Salem transport.
In 2015, 23% of kids in Winston-Salem lived in food-insecure homes. We need to be the ones to create solutions to our hunger program, not create roadblocks. We can take giant steps in alleviating the hunger problem, but only if we all work together and are open to testing new solutions.
Maybe even in the future, Uber and Lyft drivers can help pick up and deliver grocery donations from grocery stores or community gardens to families in need when they have free time and are looking around for rides to give, or when the donations route is along their normal drop off route. Hopefully Uber and Lyft would create community “badges” these drivers could earn in doing so. I know many frequent users of Uber and Lyft would happily choose to ride with drivers earning this type of badge. And while there are probably lots of reasons why our bus routes do not have stops at many businesses that need skilled labor in Winston-Salem, it would make a lot of sense for those businesses to help create bus stops near them to get the workers they need to them.
In 2014, Forsyth County was third worst in the nation for food insecurity. Why are we letting the place we love suffer such a tragic reality? We need to face the facts. We can change the trajectory of Forsyth County, but only if we all work together, are open to hearing each other’s ideas, and are willing to take action — immediate action — because why wait?
Sarina Jarrahi Horner is a sophomore at Forsyth Country Day School and lives in Lewisville. She is a co-founder of the nonprofit Forsyth County Young Leaders Program.
For more information, including information about “If Not You, Who?” awards, go online to: https://www.fcyoungleaders.org/
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