America’s Hunger Crisis By The Numbers
Growing up, we were always told to be grateful and eat our Brussels sprouts because there were starving kids on the other side of the world. Unfortunately, there are starving children, and adults right here in America. A 2012 report entitled “Map the Meal Gap” reports that approximately 49 million, or one in seven, American households are “food insecure.” MSNBC reports that America’s hunger crisis is only getting worse.
Nearly 15 percent of the American population suffers from food insecurity, defined as when people eat less, go hungry or eat less nutritious meals than they should due to money. Almost one-third of those considered food insecure are children. So what is being done to fix the situation?
Well, in November 2013, Congress slashed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for nearly 47 million Americans. Those who previously received $668 a month began to receive $36 less. While that may not sound like much, a report by Food Bank for New York City found that in the first year alone, New Yorkers alone lost more than 56 million meals as a direct result of the budgetary cuts.
Additionally, about three-quarters of Food Bank For New York City’s emergency food providers reported seeing an increase in visitors immediately after the SNAP cuts. Equally troubling is that food pantries and soup kitchens have reported shortages. In September 2014, for instance 60 percent reported running out of food, 37 percent reported having to turn people away, and 61 percent reported having to reduce the amount of food they gave away due to shortages.
Those most at risk for hunger are the working poor, Mariana Chilton, a public health professor at Drexel University School of Public Health told USA Today. Chilton went on to say that reductions in government programs (such as the recent SNAP reductions) coupled with rising food, housing and utility costs force poor families to choose between buying food and paying bills.
“This is a massive public health crisis, and it is a silent crisis,” Chilton says.
Despite being seen as the land of the free, millions of Americans are being left to starve thanks to budget cuts. You can help hungry children by going to The Hunger Site and clicking or donating $25 to help feed them.