Earlier, I used to feel that there was no hunger problem here in US, since I have grown up, I have come to realize that how misguided this picture was. While, people generally seemed richer here, Americans have problems just like any other country folks. There are many of us in US, constantly on diet program to lose weight from our unhealthy eating. While, we would hardly see any poor people or pan handlers in our daily life, there is hidden America that we do not see that often unless you are part of it. There are so many poor people in USA that they do not know where their next meal is coming from. Sad thing about it, many of them family with little kids who deserves to not go hungry and cared for as their parents probably would have go to low pay job just to survive. While there are churches, temple and other charitable organization helps but it is little and problem is too big and could use many hands from many people like us.
I hesitated to write about this topic before, as reality or truth is never pretty and quite harsh. However, I believe that if we truly want to be happy, we should want people around us to be happy.
- Why? Happiness is contagious, more happy people in world, world would be happy.
- Hungry people can not be happy, we all need our basic need met such as food, clean water, shelter, clothes, and caring and love in order to be happy and content.
We all know and may even help other kids (and we should) to Africa, Asia and Other poor to developing nations but do we know we have hungry kids in our own backyard?
Child Does not Have to Go Hungry
What does it like to feel hungry? Many of us are very lucky to have never find that harsh truth in life. Unfortunately many people in world adults, men and women are going hungry in Asia, Africa and other nation. Many of those who go hungry are children. The sad fact is many of them are in wealthy nation of ours in, USA.
There are many organizations are helping but it is not enough. Hunger and poverty are increasing at alarming rate in last 50 years compared to ever before.
According to bread.org site;
925 million people are hungry.
Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s one child every five seconds.
That fact alone will make you want to sit up and do something about it. No innocent child have to be hungry or unloved. Every little bit we can do can make a difference. It is like a ripple effect.
Hunger In America:
- We live in the world’s wealthiest nation USA, yet 13% of us are living in poor condition and are going hungry.
- One in four children live in homes that have problem having enough money to feed themselves. That is over 15 million American Children. That is shocking fact!
- As we do not see these children in our daily life, we can not know the dire situation they must live in.
There are nutrition and other helpful programs to help but it is not enough and many children are going hungry.
Here are some Hunger Facts:
- Nearly 14 million children are estimated to be served by Feeding America, over 3 million of which are ages 5 and under.
- According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009.
- 20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.(Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008.
- 14.6% of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table. More than 49 million Americans—including 16.7 million children—live in these households.
Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November 2009. (Table 1A, Table 1B)
- Nearly one in four children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, one in three children is at risk of hunger.
Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November 2009. (Table 1B, Table 6).
- Low-income households already spend a greater share of their income on food. Food accounts for 17.1 percent of spending for households making less than $10,000 per year compared to the U.S. average of 12.6 percent.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2006.
Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- One in every two babies born in the United States is enrolled in WIC.
Sources: Births: Preliminary Data for 2008 . National Vital Statistics Reports, Vul. 58, No. 16, April 2010. Annual Program Data for 2008. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
- Although 81.3 percent of eligible infants are enrolled in WIC, the program reaches just 47.3 percent of eligible children ages 1 to 4.
Source: WIC Eligibles and Coverage, 1994 to 2007: Estimates of the Population of Women, Infants and Children Eligible for WIC Benefits . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, September 2009. (Table 3).
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- About half of all American children will receive SNAP benefits at some point before age 20. Among African-American children, 90 percent will enroll in SNAP before age 20.
Source: “Estimating the Risk of Food Stamp Use and Impoverishment During Childhood,” Archives of Pediatric and Adulescent Medicine, Vul. 163 (No.11). November 2009.
- One in eight people is enrolled in SNAP. Nearly half are children.
Sources:Monthly Program Data for January 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2008 . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, October 2009.
- SNAP participation has increased 44.3 percent above pre-recession levels, an increase of 12.1 million people.
Source:Monthly Program Data comparing January 2010 and November 2007. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
- More than 90 percent of SNAP benefits are used up by the third week of the month.
Source: An Analysis of Food Stamp Benefit Redemption Patterns , Figure 4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, June 2006.
Check out this video below for more information:
We can get rid of poverty if we all helped and not wasted food. Many people can blame this crisis in growing population around the world and say that there is not enough food for everyone. But many experts do not think it is to be truth. As Gandhiji said, “There is enough food for everybody but not enough for everyone’s greed”.
We are wasting so much food here, places such as costco and some restaurant throw away food instead of donating it to homeless folks or shelters who could use it. We also waste lot of personal food at home or eat unhealthy. Most of farms are growing corn that is fed to cattle for making meat. We are sure not living sustainable living and draining our earth’s natural resources into profit and waste.
What can we do?
I think most people are kind hearted and would help this cause, only if they knew how and where to help. Here are a few ways we can start it off.
- Check out for local homeless shelter or homeless hanging out area and donate some non-perishable food to them.
- We do not have wait until Christmas, charity begins at home, when we are ready.
- If you see anyone around you, who might have lost a job, or had major health issues, help them with food and other things as you provide.
- Just because we do not see poor people, does not mean they do not exist, seek them out and help.
- Before we judge any poor people for being lazy, dirty; give them compassion, care and help. I am sure there are a few people who might take advantage of the situation but 99% are hard working people if they only had a chance.
- Many people can use, freshly cooked meals, old blankets, old stuffed toys, donate cars and so on so they can try to get back to their feet.
- Donate to organization who are helping child hunger, shelter and also look for people to help directly as many organization have budget limit and they may have turn away few folks.
- Many churches or temple give out food to people or check it out and share with them.
- Donate little money you could afford to either people in need or organizations.
- Be kind and thankful for what we have and able to help. There are always people who have more than us and there are people who have less than us, let’s help who have less than us.
Organizations to check out:
One.org (Thanks Adrian for the Link Suggestion)
If you still on fence about helping, take a look at some of the images of hungery children around the world, and help. I do not make anything from this except from feeling good for doing the right thing and following my heart.
Thank you for Taking time to read this and making small change to change world in to a happier place!