National Hunger Awareness Day
June 7 was Hunger Awareness day, when we focus on the difficult reality that exists for millions of Americans. According to the Department of Agriculture, approximately 48,800,000 people in the United States live in households experiencing hunger or food insecurity. Of that number 32,000,000 are adults and 16,200,000 are children.
The effort is also critical because less food is donated to food banks and soup kitchens in spring and summer. People are very generous around the winter holidays when the concepts of giving, sharing, and community are in the air. The notions are less popular in spring and summer as families and individuals go on vacations, the academic year draws to a close, and the change of season provides a brief hiatus.
Hunger is a form of poverty, and the persistence of hunger in the wealthiest nation in the world is both alarming and unacceptable. It is long past due that we recognize the devastating impact of hunger and commit to protect the anti-hunger programs that help children and families in their time of need.
Hunger remains a reality in all of our communities. We see it in the long lines at our food pantries. We hear it from seniors forced to choose between groceries and medication. And we see it in the faces of children at school who have not had a decent meal since yesterday’s school lunch.
In order to address the problem of hunger, we must first understand it. Feeding America undertook the Map the Meal Gap project to learn more about the face of hunger at the local community level. By understanding the population in need, communities can better identify strategies for reaching the people who most need food assistance.