With hunger affecting nearly 49 million Americans – including 15 million children – food insecurity is a serious issue that impacts the entire nation. In fact, hunger exists in every single county and Congressional district in the United States, according to Feeding America. This non-profit organization feeds America through a network of more than 200 member food banks, and it’s the largest private domestic hunger-relief organization in the nation.
When you consider that 1 in 7 Americans struggle with food insecurity, it’s not surprising that Feeding America has designated September as Hunger Action Month. When you’re hungry, you simply can’t function properly.
So, Feeding America wants to get the word out. They are asking you to …
- Write on the back of a plate: “On a hungry stomach, I can’t _______________.” Fill in the blank.
- Take a selfie, and post to social media with #HungerActionMonth.
- Tag @FeedingAmerica, and you might be featured on their website.
Let’s get the country talking about hunger in America.
Engage About Hunger
You may remember meeting Caroline Cahill on these pages. She’s been a Feeding America Hunger Corps Fellow, who spoke with us recently. Her work with child feeding programs with the Bay Area Food Bank in Mobile, Alabama earned her recognition as one of the University of California’s 30 Under 30 recipients.
She told us …
“I think what people in my generation can do is become actively engaged in the conversation. They can engage with their members of Congress and work with organizations that want to promote the health of the whole family. That’s the only way we’re going to be healthier as a nation.”
Be a Voice for Hunger
Bill Shore agrees. The book author and hunger activist is co-founder of Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the United States. He talked to us about what it’s like to wake up hungry in America.
He told us…
“Eleven percent of American children are living in deep poverty. Fifty-one percent of our public school students now live in poverty. Yet neither the press nor our political candidates in this election year are giving voice to these issues with any consistency, if at all. This places even more of an obligation … to be the voice for those whose voices are not being heard but desperately need to be.”
Let’s Look at Hunger
To understand America’s hunger problem, it pays to talk with Dr. Janet Poppendieck. This nationally recognized scholar and activist is the author of several noteworthy books on poverty and hunger, including Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement.
During our interview, Dr. Poppendieck talked about childhood hunger, school lunch policy, poverty, wage erosion and growing inequality in America. She told us…
“I am concerned that there is intention among elements in Congress to cut SNAP…. Something I think many people have forgotten: John F. Kennedy’s first executive order was to pilot a food stamp program.”
Kids Fight Hunger
Sometimes solutions come from unusual places.
Consider Katie Stagliano, the youngest of University of California’s 30 Under 30 honorees in 2016. Now 17 years old, she founded Katie’s Krops when she was 9 years old.
Today, there are 100 Katie’s Krops gardens nationwide donating fresh vegetables and fruits – grown by kids – to those in need.
Fresh produce is vitally important for a healthy diet, and especially for the hungry, explains Katie:
What frustrates me the most about hunger in America is that many emergency food programs are only able to offer packaged and processed food. While all food groups are important, fresh fruits and vegetables are so vital to a healthy diet. I wish that it was possible for more programs to offer healthy, fresh produce to those in need.
… And that’s exactly what these hard-working kids are doing. Read the interview.
Gardeners Donate Harvests
Today, millions of gardeners (of all ages) are donating surplus fruit and vegetables to those in need at nearly 8,000 food pantries in all 50 states, thanks to AmpleHarvest.org. Food pantries register (for free) so that gardeners can connect with them (also for free). It’s a win-win solution for everyone involved.
By connecting gardeners with local food pantries, it’s easier for delicious and nutritious fresh foods to be donated, rather than wasted. The program allows those in need to eat fresh foods, rather than canned or boxed foods often found in food pantries and food banks. This model of locally sourced fresh foods also reduces the carbon footprint of pantries, and prevents excess food from ending up in trash dumps.
Donate garden harvests. Support local food banks and pantries. Contact your local Congressional representatives. There’s a lot we all can do to help those in need during Hunger Action Month … and every month!