Resolving to Fight Hunger in 2010

28 01 2010

If you are still shopping for a New Years resolution or if you just want to do something to contribute to your local community, here’s an idea that just came across my inbox.

Idea 1: Give a gift. During these difficult times, your support is needed more than ever. People are losing their homes, their jobs, and their means to support their families. But you can make a difference. Every $1 you give can provide $14 worth of food and groceries. Make a Donation.

Idea 2: (My Personal Favorite) Volunteer your time at a local food bank – or drop off a food donation. Find your local food bank here and contact them to see what you can do to help right in your community.

note to idea 2: Over Christmas break my mom invited me to be part of a new tradition she has started of volunteering at our local soup kitchen every Monday. I honestly had a great time and it was really meaningful to share that time with her.

Idea 3: Become an advocate.

Take the fight against hunger to Congress and urge our lawmakers to keep anti-hunger legislation a priority. Take action.

Idea 3a: Spread the word. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors about the fight against hunger and ask them to help. Send a message.

Idea 3b: Part of becoming an advocate is becoming educated. Take the Hunger Quiz. Test your knowledge about hunger in America with our quick online quiz. You might be surprised by what you learn! Take the quiz.

Idea 3c: Join the Challenge PLUS. Participate with a team or as an individual and rally your friends and family to raise money to help feed people right in your community. Get started now.

Thanks so much for your interest in reducing hunger. Thanks also to Feeding America.org.





Latest News

25 11 2009
November 17, 2009

Hunger in U.S. at a 14-Year High

By JASON DePARLE

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who lived in households that lacked consistent access to adequate food soared last year, to 49 million, the highest since the government began tracking what it calls “food insecurity” 14 years ago, the Department of Agriculture reported Monday.

The increase, of 13 million Americans, was much larger than even the most pessimistic observers of hunger trends had expected and cast an alarming light on the daily hardships caused by the recession’s punishing effect on jobs and wages.

About a third of these struggling households had what the researchers called “very low food security,” meaning lack of money forced members to skip meals, cut portions or otherwise forgo food at some point in the year.

The other two-thirds typically had enough to eat, but only by eating cheaper or less varied foods, relying on government aid like food stamps, or visiting food pantries and soup kitchens.

“These numbers are a wake-up call for the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

One figure that drew officials’ attention was the number of households, 506,000, in which children faced “very low food security”: up from 323,000 the previous year. President Obama, who has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015, released a statement while traveling in Asia that called the finding “particularly troubling.”

The ungainly phrase “food insecurity” stems from years of political and academic wrangling over how to measure adequate access to food. In the 1980s, when officials of the Reagan administration denied there was hunger in the United States, the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington advocacy group, began a survey that concluded otherwise. Over time, Congress had the Agriculture Department oversee a similar survey, which the Census Bureau administers.

Though researchers at the Agriculture Department do not use the word “hunger,” Mr. Obama did. “Hunger rose significantly last year,” he said.

Analysts said the main reason for the growth was the rise in the unemployment rate, to 7.2 percent at the end of 2008 from 4.9 percent a year earlier. And since it now stands at 10.2 percent, the survey might in fact understate the number of Americans struggling to get adequate food.

Rising food prices, too, might have played a role.

The food stamp rolls have expanded to record levels, with 36 million Americans now collecting aid, an increase of nearly 40 percent from two years ago. And the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed last winter, raised the average monthly food stamp benefit per person by about 17 percent, to $133. Many states have made it easier for those eligible to apply, but rising applications and staffing cuts have also brought long delays.

Problems gaining access to food were highest in households with children headed by single mothers. About 37 percent of them reported some form of food insecurity compared with 14 percent of married households with children. About 29 percent of Hispanic households reported food insecurity, compared with 27 percent of black households and 12 percent of white households. Serious problems were most prevalent in the South, followed equally by the West and Midwest.

Some conservatives have attacked the survey’s methodology, saying it is hard to define what it measures. The 18-item questionnaire asks about skipped meals and hunger pangs, but also whether people had worries about getting food. It ranks the severity of their condition by the number of answers that indicate a problem.

“Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”

The report measures the number of households that experienced problems at any point in the year. Only a “small fraction” were facing the problem at a given moment. Among those with “very low food security,” for instance, most experienced the condition for several days in each of seven or eight months.

James Weill, the director of the food center that pioneered the report, called it a careful look at an underappreciated condition.

“Many people are outright hungry, skipping meals,” he said. “Others say they have enough to eat but only because they’re going to food pantries or using food stamps. We describe it as ‘households struggling with hunger.’ ”





The Difference One Dollar Can Make: Come Together Campaign Follow-up

14 11 2009

Back in September I mentioned the “Come Together” campaign, organized by Good Morning America, Feeding America, and Macy’s. Here is a great video explaining how some of the fund raising was done. One amazing statistic from the video is that just one dollar provides 7 meals for needy families. Macy’s matched every donation and the campaign ultimately raised enough money for 10 million meals. Here’s one way people did that:

Come Together Campaign on Good Morning America

 

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Combating Hunger and Obesity in One Fell Swoop

13 11 2009

lose-for-good

Here is an article recently posted online by CNN. The article details an innovative campaign where members of Weight Watchers are helping to promote healthy lifestyles and at the same time, are collecting donations for food banks. It’s a great message about how you can help your community and improve your own health at the same time. Here’s an excerpt. The full article can be read at the link provided below.

Weight Watchers announced today the donation of one million dollars to two hunger fighting organizations – Share Our Strength, the leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America, and Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization whose mission is to eliminate hunger. During a seven week period, from August 30, 2009 to October 17, 2009, Weight Watchers Members and Online Subscribers worked towards adopting a healthier lifestyle and lost approximately four million pounds, allowing the company to reach its one million dollar donation goal as part of its Lose For Good campaign. The campaign was created to help raise awareness about two global epidemics, obesity and hunger, encouraging Americans to get healthier while also doing good for others. In addition, during the campaign, Weight Watchers staff voluntarily organized local food drives at over 3,300 locations across the country, resulting in the approximate donation of more than two million pounds of food to local food banks. (CNN, 9 November 2009)

Read the rest of the article at the CNNMoney website.





FEEDING AMERICA ACROSS THE NATION

10 11 2009

map

Knowledge is Power. This is a great resource to get a sense of where your home state stands for unemployment, poverty rates and food insecurity. See how the states compare and also use the “zoom in” feature to find local food banks.

Click Here or click the map to begin!

Interactive Map provided by Feeding America





U.S. Hunger in the News:

10 11 2009

Click here to find out more!

whos-getting-food-stamps

Food Stamps Help Stave Off Hunger in Many U.S. Homes

Over 30-year period, nearly half of American children received nutrition assistance, analysis shows

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) — At some point, nearly half of all American children and teens will live in a home that receives food stamps, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed 30 years (1968 to 1997) of national data collected by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and found that by the time they were 1 year old, 12.1 percent of U.S. children had lived in households receiving food stamps. That increased to 26.1 percent at 5 years of age; 35.9 percent at 10 years; 43.6 percent by age 15, and 49.2 percent by age 20.

The study also found that by age 20, about one-third of children had lived in households that received food stamps for two or more years, 28.1 percent for three or more years, 26.4 percent for four or more years, and 22.8 percent for five or more years.

Food stamp use was most likely among households with black children and those who lived in households headed by adults who were unmarried or had had less than 12 years of education, the researchers reported in the November issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“American children are at a high risk of encountering a spell during which their families are in poverty and food insecurity as indicated through their use of food stamps. Such events have the potential to seriously jeopardize a child’s overall health,” wrote Mark R. Rank, of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis, and Thomas A. Hirschl, of Cornell University.

Studies have “repeatedly demonstrated that two of the most detrimental economic conditions affecting a child’s health are poverty and food insecurity,” the researchers noted.

“Understanding the degree to which American children are exposed to the risks of poverty and food insecurity across the length of childhood would appear to be an essential component of pediatric knowledge, particularly in light of the growing emphasis on the importance of community pediatrics,” the study authors added.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about youth and nutrition.

Also, you may view this article in its original format by following this link.





Hunger 101

30 10 2009

student_thinking[1]

How much do you know about hunger here in the United States? Consider taking this short, 10-question quiz to find out.

Quiz Starts Here!

 

Made available by Feeding America