All Articles Tagged "hunger"
After paying all their bills from electric and gas to cell phone and rent, an amazing number of Americans cannot afford food. This is taking place all across the country even though the United States is now five years into the economic recovery and the unemployment rate is falling.
According to a 160-page study released by the relief charity Feeding America, titled “Hunger in America 2014,” more than 12 million households are forced to eat unhealthy food because they can’t afford more nutritious food; 66 percent of households often have to choose between buying groceries and paying for medicine or medical care; and a whopping 69 percent of households depend on food charities.
Having interviewed 60,000 people whose households are served by the charity over a period of four years, Feeding America says this is the largest, most comprehensive study of hunger in the U.S. ever. And according to the USDA, last year there were 49 million Americans without consistent access to enough food. Among those who took part in Feeding America’s survey, the median household income was a mere $9,175 annually, which is way below the federal poverty threshold of $18,222 for a family of three.
Decreasing unemployment doesn’t mean that these Americans will all of a sudden have enough to eat. In fact, “even when more people get jobs, those jobs don’t always pay enough for them to afford to eat,” reports The Huffington Post.
“If food prices go up, families are more constrained, and they’re more likely to be food insecure,” said USDA economist Christian Gregory, who co-authored the report.
Food prices have increased by an average of 2.8 percent every year since 2007, according to USDA. And prices are expected to jump as much as 3.5 percent this year. Wages, however, have remained the same–or decreased. The Economic Policy Institute found recently that wages fell during the recession and the recovery for workers in the bottom 70 percent of the wage earnings, even though there were increases in productivity.
Obviously many Americans need help. But of the 15.5 million households served by Feeding America, only a little more than half get monthly food stamps. And about 54 percent of those who do report their food stamps sustain them for two weeks or less. It makes one wonder why Congress recently cut $800 million per year in funding for the food stamp program, reducing benefits for 850,000 households nationwide.
“This report clearly makes a case for the importance of federal nutrition programs,” Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser said. “They are the first line of defense for someone who lives at risk of hunger.”
Teachers are in the care of our children in more ways than one. While they are charged with educating children, they most often do much more–including using their own money to feed kids who come hungry to school.
It’s not like teachers take home top dollar, but still they often feel compelled to fill in the gaps using their own funds. In fact, reports the Huffington Post 63 percent of teachers report buying food for the classroom each month with their own money. This is according to new statistics from a report put out by Share Our Strength, which surveyed teachers across the country about hunger in America’s classrooms.
According to the report, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. kids facing the threat of hunger this year, and teachers across America are seeing its effects.
Teachers often find themselves shelling out moeny just to make the classroom run smoothly. School budgets across the country have been slashed drastically, leaving little left over for supplies. According to a recent survey from insurance firm Horace Mann, which focuses on products for educators, 53% of respondents said their budgets for classroom supplies have been cut. “General items, including paper and pens, top the list of materials not covered sufficiently by current budgets, followed by math and science tools, then reading material,” reports USA Today.
Because of this teachers often dig int their own pockets. According to the survey, 26% of the 814 teachers participating spent $400 of their own money on supplies last year—a 3 percentage point increase from 2011.
The United States is a “first world” country, so the fact that 50.1 million Americans still struggle to put food on the table is gripping. Nationwide, hunger exists in every single county in the U.S.; nearly 18 million households could not afford groceries in 2011, according to DoSomething.org. African Americans, in particular, fall victim to food insecurity—the deprivation of a proper diet, reports BET.
Among black households, 25.1 percent are food insecure, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. A study by Feeding America discovered blacks are two times more likely to be famished. Nearly 30 percent of African-American children are impacted by hunger compared to about 13 percent of white children.
Holmes County in Mississippi, the poorest state in America, has the highest rate of hunger-stricken homes at 35.2 percent. In fact, seven more counties in Mississippi are placed on America’s “top ten” list of the most food insecure counties in the country. The afflicted state also has an unemployment rate of 10.7 compared to a much lower national average, the study also found.
The main culprits igniting these crippling hunger statistics are unemployment, poverty, and food stamps that are sometimes inadequate to feed families. Because of this, many people find themselves needing to make a choice between buying groceries for the week and other necessities. Individuals who have food security report they spend an average of $2.67 a meal.
According to information from Feeding America, an anti-hunger advocacy organization, 70 percent of their 37 million clients live below the poverty line with an average monthly income of $940. Nearly half of the clients report that they had to make a decision between buying food and paying for heating fuel or utilities. Thirty-nine percent said that they had to make a choice between paying for rent and groceries.
Forty percent of food is trashed annually in the U.S., according to DoSomething.org. Did you know that this $165 billion worth of food can feed 25 million hungry Americans?
FeedingAmerica.org provides viewers with a map that illustrates the U.S. food insecurity level in a visual perspective.
The site claims it would take $21,816,400,667 to meet the food demands of today.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a report showing that 25.1 percent of black homes were food insecure in 2011. Food insecurity comes about when there isn’t sufficient access to food because of a lack of resources, including money.
Overall, 85.1 percent of the U.S. population was food secure while 14.9 percent of the population have trouble providing adequate levels of food for themselves and their families. So the black population exceeds the level of food insecurity for the general population by about 10 percentage points.
The percentage of food insecure only went up by a small amount (from 14.1 percent in 2011), so the USDA says it’s not “statistically significant.” Nearly six percent of the population had very low food security, meaning they went without meals for a few days at some point over the course of seven months during the year.
“For households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, households with children headed by single women or single men, and Black and Hispanic households, rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average,” the report says. Hispanic households experienced food insecurity at a rate of 26.2 percent.
With a quarter of black houses experiencing problems simply keeping enough food on the table, the problem is critical. According to reporting from the Washington Informer, if not for government food programs the number would be even higher, a very scary thought.
“African-Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by unemployment and poverty, and there is a strong correlation to food insecurity rates,” Rev. Derrick Boykin told the paper. Another source, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, called it a “moral obligation” for Congress to keep these food programs away from budget cuts.
The Senate has already passed a plan in June that would lower the funding for food stamps. The use of food stamps reached a record level that month; 46.7 million people were using food stamps. Spending on food stamp programs also reached a record $75.7 billion. As far as we’re concerned, this is money well spent.
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Okay, so I know it’s weird that I’m shouting out a “Sesame Street” puppet, but this racially ambiguous puppet is being brought to you by “Sesame Street” for a great cause: to help fight hunger.
Lily, with her fuchsia (?) skin and multi-colored locks is being introduced for a one hour prime-time special for the show to help alert people on the ongoing issues with hunger. And not hunger concerns abroad, but ones going on right here at home. According to Entertainment Weekly (and the U.S. Department of Agriculture), nearly one in four children in the U.S. have limited access to nutritious and affordable food. Lily’s family will deal with food “insecurity” issues in the primetime special, and the show will also feature everyday families with their children talking about how they cope. Country singer Brad Paisley and his wife will also take part in the special, called “Growing Hope Against Hunger,” airing October 9. The special is being sponsored by the folks over at Walmart. So, is she too cute or what? What do you think of “Sesame Street” and this initiative their taking to help curb a major issue?
(Forbes) — Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson isn’t someone who often seems uneasy. He has maintained his unapologetically aggressive stage persona and trademark scowl through myriad battles with other rappers and real physical violence, famously surviving nine close-range gunshots in 2000. But standing on a leather armchair in the Hudson Hotel, 50 proclaims that he’s a bundle of nerves. “I thought I was supposed to be finished with being nervous in front of people,” he says, addressing the group seated before him. “But for me, this is the most important project I’ve participated in.” The audience gathered last week to celebrate the launch of 50’s latest venture, an energy shot called Street King. Working in partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme, the product promises to deliver a meal to a hungry child for every unit sold. According to the U.N., 50 Cent and his company have already written a check to cover the cost of 2.5 million meals.
50 Cent has made hundreds of millions of dollars peddling everything from music to video games. Now he is bringing his viral marketing genius into a surprising new realm: celebrity philanthropy. With his new energy shot drink, Street King, 50 Cent plans to parlay his popularity into selling his millions of fans on helping him feed one billion Africans.
Here’s how it works. For every sale of Street King, the company will give a meal to a child. In a recent video making its rounds on the web the man also known an Curtis Jackson made his pitch to the youth market, hitching his plea for their help to the purchase of branded energy shots — a growing market. MTV.com reports:
In a heartfelt PSA-styled viral clip that the G-Unit general put out [Tuesday], he spoke on the importance of eliminating hunger and poverty in the world and called on his fans to help him do it.
“What’s up, it’s your boy 50 Cent,” 50 starts off in the video. “I’m actually out here in Austrailia on tour right now and man, I grew up without money but I didn’t grow up hungry. It’s a lot of people out there that are actually hungry, actually dying of hunger. And I feel like it’s our responsiblity to come together and do things to create a solution for this actual problem.” [...]
“What I’ve seen from this actual run, when I was out in Africa, was unbeilievable, the devastation and desperation of people who don’t know when they’ll receive their next meal” said 50. “Or if they’re going to receive their next meal. I want to feed a billion kids and I need your help to do it. I need you to utilize your energy, your voice, to provide additional motivation for me at times. My new project is called SK, Street King and y’all know the plan. I just told y’all the plan. I want to feed a billion kids. It’s your boy 50 Cent.”
50 Cent is also stimulating curiosity about Street King organically by wearing a dazzling “SK” medallion on his chain. Ever the grass roots instigator, it will be an interesting business lesson to see what other creative and entertaining methods this street king develops to draw attention to his new charity effort. 50’s previous acts of charity include performing for survivors of the Norway massacre more recently, as well as funding numerous programs for needy Americans through his G-Unity Foundation.
(Wall Street Journal) — Food companies have long donated money and surplus food to fight hunger in Africa, but some of the biggest firms are now plowing people and money into a new strategy aimed at helping the continent feed itself. General Mills Inc., Cargill Inc. and Dutch food-science company Royal DSM NV are expected Wednesday to announce a nonprofit called Partners in Food Solutions to help global food makers share their technological and other expertise with food processing companies in African nations and, eventually, other developing countries.
The companies will volunteer their own people to advise small and midsize African food processors on how to fix manufacturing problems, develop products, improve packaging, extend shelf lives and find new markets. The firms believe putting these African companies on a stronger economic footing will help the farmers who supply them and make food more plentiful on the continent. “We’ve donated money and commodities” in the past, said F. Kerr Dow, Cargill vice president of global food technology. “This is knowledge transfer, and that makes you a lot more personally connected.”
(Chicago Defender) — Officials say that the free and reduced prices meals price meals public schools provide during the school year are often the only meals of the day for some students. When schools let out for the summer, they found, many students go hungry. But thanks to the federal government, state agencies and community organizations, free meals will be offered to families who need them over the summer months.
(NYTimes.com) — The Wal-Mart Corporation announced plans Wednesday to contribute $2 billion in cash and food to the nation’s food banks, one of the largest corporate gifts on record. Over the next five years, the giant retail company will distribute some 1.1 billion pounds of food to food banks and provide $250 million to help them buy refrigerated trucks, improve storage and develop better logistics.