America’s children need your help to fight for funding for much needed feeding programs. The US House and Senate are making decisions about funding for hunger-relief programs.Hunger in America is pervasive. 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. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well kept secret.
Approximately, one in four children in America is food insecure. 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.
Statistics on Childhood Hunger in the United States: • According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii • 20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii • In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).v
With 46.2 million residents, Poverty, USA, is the largest state in America. Despite recent economic growth more than 43 million Americans -including 14.7 million children – live in poverty, the highest in the more than 50 years that the data has been tracked. Yet a recent Gallup poll found that only 5% of Americans believe poverty and homelessness are important problems for the country. So let’s look at some facts and make our own determination:
Over 25 percent of the children in the US under the age of six live in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. As poverty surged last year to its highest level since 1993, median household income declined, leaving the typical American household earning less in inflation-adjusted dollars than it did in 1997. One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program. Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007. More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.
According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 1.6 million American children “were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year”. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010. One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
The number of children living in poverty in the United States has risen for four years in a row. There are ten (10) different states where at least one out of every four babies is born to a family living in poverty. 28 percent of all households in America have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job. There are seven million children in the United States today that are not covered by health insurance at all.
Please call your US House Representatives and Senators and ask them to support programs that improve the quality of life for what the Bible terms “…the least of these”. If the line is busy, please redial and call again. Please let your elected officials in Washington know that you care about children and families living in poverty.
Feeding America has drafted a message that you can delivered to your elected officials:
“As your constituent, I ask you to please urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to protect and strengthen hunger-relief programs. My community cannot afford for these programs to be cut.”
We can only make a difference when we take action.
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi
“Don’t miss your chance to make an impact, dial your elected officials in Washington DC now!
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
i In 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.
iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.
iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.
v Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.