Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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43 million Americans are going hungry. Can you tell who in your neighborhood is going without food? 1 in every 8 people you pass by on the street could be missing meals.

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

  • 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day.
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States don’t have enough to eat.
  • 1 in 12 seniors in the U.S. struggle to access enough food.

Feeding America provides an interactive map of food insecurity in the United States. Check out your district to see how you compare to others. Is your neighborhood hungry? What can you to do change that? How can we make this better?

food-insecurity-map

Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

Donate Food. Find a local food bank that’s collecting food. Check their website or call and ask what food items they need, but them and deliver them to the food bank. Make sure to check their hours for accepting donations.

Start a Food Drive. Move for Hunger has great information on how to set up a food drive in your area. Check out their tops, find a great location and get your community involved.

Fundraise. Create an online fundraiser and get others involved in raising money for charities solving hunger issues. You can set one up in minutes on JustGive and post your appeal on social media to get your friends and family involved. When someone asks what’s on your holiday gift list, tell them gifts of charity for the hungry would mean the most to you.

Volunteer. Find a local food banks, soup kitchen or rescue mission serving meals and collecting food.  Find a few and call around to see who can use the help and set up a time to go. Their need is ongoing; offer to help as often as you can.

Give.  There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work to fight hunger, and your donation gives them the ability to do more. It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. We have a short list of recommended hunger charities on the JustGive site, and here are a few examples of what your gift can do:

Let’s take action today and do something for the more than 43 million Americans who don’t have enough food to eat . . . so no one goes hungry.

 

Hunger and Food Justice: Community Building for Food Equality

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Image Source: Flickr

Hunger: it’s a daunting problem the world over. Even though I was eager to research and write on this topic, when I started to dig into it, I got more and more overwhelmed with how broad and profound the issue is. The stark facts saddened and discouraged me.

In the United States, almost half of all food is wasted, while 1 in 4 go hungry.

Here’s what shocked me the most: 16.2 million children in the U.S. are without adequate food and nutrition. And we know poor nutrition in early childhood causes lifelong problems with mental and physical development (Journal of American Medical Association, 2013).

It’s hard to believe it happens at home. Many American families can’t adequately feed their own children. Parents and grandparents have had to choose between paying heating bills or putting a meal on their table. When I read through stories on the Feeding America website, many moved me to tears. Not just because of the sadness of the situations, but also because they were stories of hope. I learned that food banks are a pretty wonderful resource. They connect community members with life-saving food supplies, and even offer health and nutrition based programs for people with special health concerns like diabetes.

Then I started to think: what can I realistically do—locally— to help?

Outside of governmental programs, I knew that taking a holistic approach, including equitable food distribution, sustainable agricultural practices, and nutrition education was the most positive way to make a difference in the fight to end hunger. That’s when I discovered the Food Justice movement .

I didn’t know much about this community-based movement, but the name alone made me feel empowered and reminded me that hunger is actually a social justice issue. I started checking out local groups involved in this activism.

Food Justice is the right of every person to have access to fresh, nutritious food. Food justice groups are caring individuals who create food production techniques that are healthy and sustainable (often in underused public spaces); raise awareness; teach waste reduction; and offer nutrition programs, gardening and other resources for schools and communities. These are actions anyone could take to make a difference in the world.

So what am I going to do, now that I’ve educated myself about hunger? I’ve signed up to volunteer with the Oakland-based organization Planting Justice. I’ve promised myself I will be more mindful and less wasteful about the food I bring home, and I may try building my own food-producing garden…even if it is just one basil plant and one rosemary plant for now! One step at a time, right?

How you can get started

vegetablesHere are a few Food Justice-focused charities working to bring together nutritional resources, sustainable food production and distribution practices, and community growth:

There are also some wonderful organizations helping end hunger on a broader scale, in schools, and around the country and world:

The organization’s No Kid Hungry campaign is focused on ending childhood hunger.

Other things we can all do to help combat hunger, waste and food inequality:

  • Practice economical food usage. Store leftovers and freeze or donate the extra.
  • Volunteer our time at community gardens and food banks.
  • Raise awareness by educating ourselves and talking with our friends, family and neighbors. It’s the first step to building strong communities.

-Alex Mechanic

Customer Service Manager

Help Hungry American Children

image source: flickr
image source: flickr

It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized how much children rely on adults for help. In the best cases, a child has parents and a loving extended family, and wants for nothing. In the worst cases, a child has a neglectful family, and doesn’t get basic needs met, emotionally or physically.

Some children have loving parents who work their hardest, but still can’t make ends meet. Many lost their jobs when the economy crashed, and providing essentials for their children became next to impossible. I can only imagine what it might be like to not be able to meet my child’s needs: I would be devastated. For families like these —including 16 million kids (one of every 5 children nationwide)—hunger is a very real concern.

Children have no control over their situation. When their parents can’t provide for their basic needs, it is our responsibility to step in and help. According to No Kid Hungry, nearly half of the recipients of food stamps are children. About 9.8 million kids get free or reduced price breakfast at school, but 10.6 million eligible children receive nothing. And of the children who receive reduced price lunches, only one in seven receives breakfast during the summer.

The impact of hunger on children is distressing, according to Feeding America:

  • Kids who face hunger are 90 percent more likely to have their overall health rated as “fair/poor,” and face increased hospitalizations, developmental problems, and illnesses.
  • Ninety percent of teachers say that a healthy breakfast is key to academic achievement. Hungry children are unable to concentrate, have poor academic performance, and complain of headaches and stomach aches.
  • Childhood hunger is linked to significant health problems in adulthood.

It is heartbreaking to think that millions of American children go to bed hungry every night, only to wake up to no breakfast. The good news is this: You can help.

Raise Awareness. Did you know how dire the hunger problem is? I certainly didn’t, and chances are, you have friends and family who don’t know either. Talk about it! Tell your loved ones. Share this post on Facebook and Twitter. Start a conversation.

Donate. There are a lot of charities doing fantastic work to fight hunger in the United States. And surprisingly, it takes very little to make a huge impact. For example, a donation of just $46 to No Child Hungry can feed a child for an entire year. And $25 to Feeding America provides an incredible 200 meals for hungry families.

Tomorrow, when you have your breakfast – whether it’s a bagel on the run, or a French toast feast – think about the kids who have nothing, and make a decision to help. Forfeit just one meal at a restaurant in favor of a meal at home, and donate the difference—you’ll help a lot of hungry kids. Just imagine their smiles, and how grateful they’ll be to have food to eat.

Donate Now
—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager