Hunger in America
Is there really a need for emergency food? Unfortunately, yes. Experts say that people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from are experiencing “food insecurity.” And tens of millions of Americans face this situation every day.
This isn’t an exaggeration. According to recent reports, 18.5% of American households are considered “food insecure.” And at least 40 million U.S. residents — more than one in eight of our neighbors — actually receivedfood aid in 2009.
With our economy suffering, the demand for food assistance keeps growing.
According to Feeding America, a national organization of food banks, the number of Americans needing help with food has jumped 46% in the last three years. This includes 50% more children who need food assistance, and 64% more senior citizens.
Another study determined that 25% of all households with children are likely to experience hunger or food insecurity. And that number goes up to over 30% in households with single parents.
Think of it this way: If you’re standing in a line in your community, one of the eight people around you probably hasn’t had enough to eat. And if your child is in a class of 28 people, 7 of their classmates may not be sure where their next meal is coming from. It’s shocking.
Why are so many of our neighbors hungry? It’s not because there’s a shortage of food. Studies show that America produces twice as much food as we need in order to feed everyone in our country.
So what’s the problem? Poverty.
Many of our neighbors simply can’t afford to buy enough food — even when they’re working. Feeding America reports that at least 1/3 of all American families who get help with food have one or more people working.
The result is heartbreaking: “A growing number of people have to make difficult choices about what to spend their dwindling dollars on.,” Feeding America says:
- “More than 46% of our clients report having to choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food.”
- “39% said they had to choose between paying for rent or a mortgage and food.”
- “34% report having to choose between paying for medical bills and food.”
- And 35% must choose between transportation and food.”
There’s a silver lining. Hidden in these alarming statistics is one bit of very good news: If 60 million Americans are “food insecure,” then about 250 million Americans are not.
This means that there are plenty of people who can afford to offer a little help. Not everyone, of course.…But more than enough to make a huge difference. You may be one of them.
And that’s what the Mother Lode Food Project is all about.
Lacey Peterson wrote a fine, very powerful article on poverty and the needs of our neighbors in today’s Union Democrat. It is titled: Poverty in the Foothills:About 12,600 Residents in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties Affected
To become more informed on food waste in America here are some links to short videos and interviews:
Sorting and bagging of produce are very labor intensive. If you would like to volunteer to help with these steps, contact Lee Kimball at 984 3964.