Did you know that September is Hunger Awareness Month? Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign brings attention to hunger in America year-round, but they’re making a big push to get out their message this month. You may have even have heard a mention or two during your favorite TV shows this past Sunday, as networks like The Cooking Channel, The Food Network, TNT, TBS and Nickelodeon have been participating in the GO ORANGE drive. The goal? To end childhood hunger in America.
BerryBreeze™ is proud to announce our support for the No Kid Hungry campaign, and we’re excited to be a part of the GO ORANGE movement this month. In many of our blogs for September, we’ll be shining a spotlight on how the poverty rate in America contributes to a lack of food security for so many people in our country, and we’ll be talking about ways to address the problem. Sustainable lifestyle advocates need to know how they can help fight childhood hunger, so we’ll let you know how you can take action in your own community to ensure that kids are getting enough to eat.
Who Suffers From Hunger in America?
We’ll start off by talking about the groups that suffer the most because of food insecurity here in the U.S. Almost 50 million Americans live in a household without reliable year-round access to an adequate amount of food, but some groups have a harder time than others. The following four groups of Americans face harsh consequences when food is scarce.
1. Children. Even if the youngest Americans weren’t the ones most likely to go without food, the No Kid Hungry campaign, or something like it, would still exist. That’s because we have a moral imperative to protect those who are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, children are more likely to lack reliable meals than the average American: although about one in six Americans deals with food insecurity, more than one in five children (almost 16 million in total) must deal with hunger every year. We should feel compelled to do whatever we can to help fight hunger in America, but when kids are involved, we should feel positively moved to act.
2. African-Americans and Latinos. The Latino population in the U.S. is growing quickly, but they’re also among the hardest hit when the poverty rate in America starts to climb. This leads to greater food insecurity for Hispanics in the U.S. (26.9 percent for Latinos versus a national average of 14.7 percent). Latino children are particularly susceptible – about 20 percent of children in America are of Hispanic heritage, but they account for 31 percent of the children who don’t have reliable access to food. African-American families are also more likely to go hungry, as more than 25 percent of households and almost a third of children in the African American community lack adequate access to food.
3. Seniors. Government-supported programs like Meals on Wheels are of vital importance to elderly Americans who don’t have a reliable food source. But because of recent funding cuts (due to the recession and sequestration, for example), older adults are increasingly at risk for hunger. In fact, between 2001 and 2011, the number of Americans over the age of 60 who didn’t have access to a reliable food source doubled – to almost 5 million.
Of course for seniors, hunger isn’t always the result of poverty. Because of mobility and health issues, many older Americans simply find it difficult to shop and to bring groceries home. They may not always have family that they can turn to when they’re hungry, but asking outsiders for help – or turning to an organization for assistance – can be hard for them in a different way.
4. Rural Americans. When it comes to hunger in America, the numbers show that urban areas suffer the most. But rural families also have hunger rates that are above the national average. Over 15 percent of the households in rural America – or more than 3 million families – lack a reliable food source. Rural areas in the South have an especially tough time, because more than a quarter of families there are living below the poverty line. In rural areas, it’s harder to find a steady job that pays well, but to make matters even worse the very geography can present logistical problems for organizations that seek to tackle hunger outside our big cities.
Although these groups suffer the effects of hunger in America more acutely than others, no community is immune from the threat of hunger. Our most recent recession showed that when unemployment numbers rise and the poverty rate in America goes up, families suffer. Hunger in America is an important issue, and it’s one that we have to take seriously. There’s just no reason for a child to go hungry in a country like ours.
Stay tuned the rest of this month to get the facts on hunger in America and to learn how sustainable lifestyle enthusiasts like you can make a difference.