Food is a basic necessity that many people often take for granted. How many times have we only eaten half of a sandwich and thrown it away? How much money do we spend on Starbucks every year? So many commercials on television talk about the hunger in Africa and India, but there are significantly fewer commercials highlighting the charities fighting hunger right here in the United States. Below are data from the World Hunger Education Service (taken directly from their website found here):
“Three years after the onset of the financial and economic crisis, hunger remains high in the United States. The financial and economic crisis that erupted in 2008 caused a dramatic increase in hunger in the United States. This high level of hunger continues in 2010, according to the latest government report (with the most recent statistics) released in September 2011 (Coleman-Jensen 2011).
- In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States 1 (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v.)
- In 2010, about one-third of food-insecure households (6.7 million households, or 5.4 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security (compared with 4.7 million households (4.1 percent) in 2007. > In households with very low food security, the food intake of some household members was reduced, and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the household’s food insecurity (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v., Nord 2009, p. iii.) .
- In 2010, children were food insecure at times during the year in 9.8 percent of households with children (3.9 million households.) In one percent of households with children,one or more of the children experienced the most severe food-insecure condition measured by USDA, very low food security, in which meals were irregular and food intake was below levels considered adequate by caregivers (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. vi).
- The median [a type of average] food-secure household spent 27 percent more on food than the median food-insecure household of the same size and household composition (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. vi).”
Thus, the highlighted organization for this post is Feeding America, the leading domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States. Through their network of food banks and public services, they feed 37 million Americans each year. They provide nutritious, fresh food, a safe and nurturing place for children to eat, emergency assistance for disaster victims (think Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the numerous tornadoes every year), and a chance at self-sufficiency to try to break the cycle of poverty and hunger. For more information on their programs and services, you can visit their website here.
To help distribute the food and make the most impact, Feeding America has a network of more than 200 food banks and partner agencies. You can view how their network and the process works here. It really is a fascinating look at how people across a nation come together in a complicated system for th esame cause- to help a fellow citizen, feed a child, support a struggling family, and senior citizen. To view these leadership partners, click here.
You don’t necessarily have to donate here. Post offices, banks, and grocery stores often collect dry and canned goods for families in need. You can also Google a food collection agency in your area (we have the Second Harvest as one example). Pick up another 50 cent can of corn or green beans next time you’re at the grocery store and ask the store manager if they collect for food banks. Chances are that they do. If everyone donated one food good, we might be able to eliminate hunger in our country. Worth a shot, wouldn’t you say?
Visit their website and browse around: http://feedingamerica.org/