Michigan: The Ongoing Fight Against Hunger

  PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Our Infographic

Michigan: The Ongoing Fight Against Hunger

By Andrew Markman and Tyler Berger

2. Persona and POV statement
Persona: Our Persona and POV Statement

 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Raising the minimum wage so that people that receive less income can spend more on food.

SOLUTION 2: Government tax incentive for those who donate money to local food banks.

SOLUTION 3: Programs to spread awareness about local food banks and food services.

SOLUTION 4: Better budgeting and smarter spending on food.

SOLUTION 5: See if schools can offer the kids a program where they can take home leftover lunch

 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Act 43 of 1973- this act regards the distribution of food stamps. We believe that those who qualify for food stamps can be similar to the ones that qualify for our proposal.

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will have large impacts on people who struggle to find the money to provide enough food for their families on a nightly basis. Making food cheaper will, in theory, help those in need, and significantly reduce the hunger rate in the state of Michigan. (Add statistic about Michigan’s ranking in hunger here)

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

We learned about a majority of these problems through Food Gatherers and followed it up with statistics and alarming, touching facts about the current state of food problems in this state.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Our service and activity have us invested and motivated to solve a problem for many who are struggling. Seeing the struggles first hand has been very shocking for us and propelling us to work harder and smarter.

 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue: Michigan: The Ongoing Fight Against Hunger

 

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: The first consultant we met with requested to remain anonymous and we respected this person's decision. S/he expressed the importance of hunger that lingers around the world, especially when it can affect children. When s/he expressed their concern with children we wanted to know more information about it because this individual was more knowledgeable in this field and we found out that roughly 20% of children in Michigan live in poverty, with housing incomes under about 25K for a family of 4. We decided to ask why s/he thought that was the case and our consultant told us that Michigan lost one million jobs over the past decade so that may have been a large factor as to why there is a large percentage of the population in Michigan in poverty. This person has been largely impacted by the large loss of jobs over the last decade, in a negative way and is doing a lot of research of his own that he was happy to share with us.

CONSULTATION 2: The second consultant we interviewed also wished to remain unknown but works with The Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM). A little background information of FBCM is to address and alleviate hunger statewide by increasing emergency food resources and advocating on behalf of the hunger relief network. Our consultant gave us more knowledge on this issue and why s/he thought hunger was a problem. Our consultant told us that many of the cities in Michigan are facing unprecedented unemployment rates and the communities suffer as a result. Because of this issue, it leads to many families in poverty. What we found most interesting from this discussion was that their regional food banks service in different geographic territories and are in place to ensure that each of Michigan’s 83 counties is served and diminish duplication of service. Additionally, we were surprised to see that one of their food banks was food gathers, where both of us are doing our community service hours and are learning a lot about the program and the challenges it faces.

CONSULTATION 3:  For our third consultation, we decided we wanted to get more knowledge of someone who is experiencing a food shortage in their household. We walked around state street and interviewed a homeless person on State Street whose name was Carlos. We asked Carlos many questions about why he was homeless, does he have a family, and how he gets his meals. Luckily, Carlos was very nice and we were fortunate enough to get good answers out of him. We learned that he was homeless for about 6 months because of a recent injury causing him to be out of work. He said that it is very hard for him to get a job because of the injury and that he has a minor criminal charge that he would not mention. We figured that he didn’t have a job because of the background he had, but that was not our main concern. We asked him if he is hungry and how he gets his meals. He told us he gets his money from collecting cans out of garbages and people donating; he was aware that there are food banks but he has never been to one and doesn’t plan on it.

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

Meeting with Professor Kupperman was extremely helpful and instrumental in helping us to find focus and more purpose in our proposal. Jeff started out by making us think harder and more in-depth about why our problem actually exists and what outside factors contribute to it. Our problem regards people who don’t have the means to purchase enough food for who they are responsible for feeding. We interviewed a working man at Little Caesars Arena, and after speaking with him, he inspired our POV. Jeff appreciated the fact that we actually went out of our way to speak to a real person who struggles with a real issue. At first, we only looked at it from the perspective of who we interviewed, William. William is a man whose current job does not earn him enough money to provide food every night for his whole family. Prior to meeting with Jeff, we never thought about why this problem might occur. Jeff opened our ways of thinking and shifted our focus as to why he can’t afford dinner for his family every night. This change in thinking involved us changing our thought process to some of the following things: How much is William paying in electricity bills, and how can he minimize that cost? How is William getting to work, is he taking public transportation? Where is William purchasing his food, and can he find a nearby store with cheaper prices? After meeting with Jeff our primary shift in thinking was a shift from “how can William make more money?”, to “How can William make better use of his money?” This change in thinking has allowed us to tackle many of the problems from different angles that we would not have been able to prior to the meeting,

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

Our research progress was shaped and inspired by our consultants. After taking a bunch of time researching what problem we wanted to work on improving, we ended up deciding on providing food for those on need after speaking to William Long, a worker at Little Caesars Arena. We planned on interviewing many people who struggle with a variety of issues, but after our first interview with William, we knew for sure we wanted to work on the problem of food. William’s story and struggle truly hit home with us and gave us motivation and ambition to do anything in our power to help those struggling with problems like William. After researching statistics we found possible that our problem could be fixed in a relatively cheap manner compared to many other global issues. We went on scholarly articles and found statistics regarding hunger rate, starvation rate, approximations of the money needed to solve this issue completely, in addition to way more alarming and helpful statistics. Our thinking has continued to stay positive throughout our findings and possible solutions that have yet to hit a “dead end”. The problem of feeding a hungry child clearly only impacts the lower class, so we were thinking of a solution that only impacts the lower class who needs this help. Our final thought came as we were just brainstorming ideas in a room together working on our proposal. We came up with a tax deduction on the purchase of food for families that make under a certain amount of money per year per family member they need to feed. The exact number of money made we are still looking into, but may leave up to the legislature to decide. We so far have found tiny flaws in this, but nothing that discourages us from the proposal. We feel great about it as it is and are excited to see how it progresses. We will continue to interview people and do more research.

 

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

Throughout the process, we decided it would be best if we would be together every step of the way, especially when we interviewed William for our POV and met with/discussed the three consultants we had we who all know about the topic we were researching about. Together, whether through facetime or meeting in person, we conducted research and would individually brainstorm more ideas and would share them with each other frequently throughout the week. When one of us came up with a solution idea or anything more to look into, we made sure that each of us would play devil’s advocate and try to be looking at the idea from another point of view. It was very important to do that and we have been successful thus far. For example, Tyler thought of an idea such as all elementary schools should provide a mandatory healthy breakfast and lunch to all students so they would get proper nutrition. We then, together, did more research on the topic and found that it wasn’t feasible because there are food allergies, some students bring in their own lunch, and there wouldn’t be funding possible to make this solution work. Overall, we are both very proud of the contributions we have made so far and are looking forward to making stronger improvements to our proposal and hopefully presenting in Lansing at the end of April.

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS in Michigan, 1,414,700 people are struggling with hunger

WHEREAS 16.6% of children in the state of Michigan go to sleep hungry

WHEREAS a healthy diet and food balance is necessary for all everyday activities, and a lack of it impacts people negatively in a variety of things.

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. Individuals in the state of Michigan should be legally mandated to have a discount on the cost of food if they meet a certain yearly income dependent on their family size.

2. The percentage of children who go to bed hungry will drastically decrease.

3. People being able to spend more income on other essentials such healthcare.

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. People are going to think that it is unfair and those who earn more money feel that they are harder workers and won’t be happy with others getting a deduction on food.

2. It is going to be very hard to find a fine line on who is allowed to receive the government tax deduction on food.  

3. That the state tax deduction on food will take a lot of its funding away that is allocated towards other things around the state.

4. People may lose jobs, as a result, a reduction of tax revenue as stores will earn less money.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

The only cost of our proposal would be the loss of tax revenue for the government, in order to feed families and make sure children and adults do not go to bed hungry. In addition to that, make sure that citizens of our nation are staying healthy and having the correct nutrition so they can stay mentally and physically well. There does not need to be funding for this deduction in prices, however, stores and the government will lose some money in revenue and this can have negative impacts. People that may reject are those that are losing the tax money, however, we believe this money can come from elsewhere. We are still working on figuring out where this money can come from, we are thinking about taking from the military.

References:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/06/27/study-michigan-kids-poverty-midwest/732377002/

https://talkpoverty.org/state-year-report/michigan-2018-report/

https://mcac.memberclicks.net/poverty-in-michigan

https://www.foodgatherers.org

https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/michigan

 

 




 

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