Food security is necessary to lead a productive, healthy, and active life. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. According to the USDA, over seventeen (17) million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of hunger is a national travesty.
Approximately, one in four children in America is food insecure.
The United States’ 2009 food insecurity rates were high for one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Due largely to safety net programs, the 2009 rates did not rise steeply above their 2008 levels. The federal programs that helped to prevent child hunger include Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and school breakfasts as well as lunches. These federal feeding programs provide critical assistance to indigent children, youth, and families in crisis. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of hunger is a national travesty.
As is aptly stated in the materials by Share Our Strength i “No Hungry Kid”, “…their bodies may not be rail thin, nor their bellies bloated like their counterparts in other countries, but they’re at risk of hunger all the same. They lack the energy to learn, grow, and thrive.” It is a well known fact that proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of healthy children.
In response to what some have been termed as unjust proposed federal budget cuts that will disproportionately impact poor and hungry people in the United States and abroad, a broad based coalition launched a fasting, prayer, and advocacy campaign to protect funding for programs serving the most vulnerable members of society. It has been reported that this campaign started with over four thousand (4,000) citizens and the coalition has continued to grow. The end date for the fast varies.
By fasting in solidarity, the campaign participants seek to make the suffering of desperately poor children, youth, and families visible to policymakers. As the budget negotiations have shifted from the level of cuts to where the cuts will fall, the leaders of the campaign specifically want programs for the neediest Americans exempted. The bulk of the GOP’s proposed budget cuts fall on programs serving the most vulnerable members of society.
If federal funding for programs serving the most vulnerable members of our society is important to you, it is imperative that you let your elected officials know your position on this issue. To find the name and contact information for your : US Senator, you can visit the Senate Information website at http://www.senate.gov/…/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm; and for the House of Representatives you can visit this website http://www.writerep.house.gov.
To get involved in an anti-hunger campaign or to gain further information on the prevalence of hunger in America, you can visit countless websites including but not limited to: the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture website, http://www.bread.org, http://www.share.org, http://www.feedamerica.org, http://www.moveon.org, and http://www.nokidhungry.org.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Feeding America (online); Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010; Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; http://www.share.org; http://www.feedamerica.org; http://www.nokidhungry.org; “Fasting, Prayer & Budget Cuts”, Business Wire, March 23, 2011; Progressive Leaders Fast Over Budget Cuts, Dayen, David, April 1, 2011; and the Food Research and Action Center.
iIn 1984, Share Our Strength, was started by the brother and sister team of Bill and Debbie Shore started the organization with the belief that everyone has strength to share in the global fight against hunger and poverty, and that in these shared strengths lie sustainable solutions.
iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
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