In a recent USA Today article on “suburban hunger” and the recent economic downturn’s lingering effect on many American families, Christie Garton writes:
“After job losses, home foreclosures, mounting debt and bills some can no longer afford to pay, families such as theirs have become part of the new face of hunger in America.
Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America says there is a growing problem with suburban poverty, “where new clients are individuals who have never needed to rely on the charitable food system.”
Hunger has been a challenge in the U.S., even when the economy is running on all cylinders.
At the end of the economic boom in 2007, 13 million people or about 11% of all households were considered “food insecure,” the official term used by the government to define one’s inability to access an adequate amount of nutritious food at times during the year.
“Not everyone who is food insecure is literally going hungry,” says Mark Nord, sociologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. “Some are able to head off hunger by reducing the quality and variety of their diets. But if food insecurity is severe or prolonged, it is likely to result in hunger.”
This confirms an observation one of our local community-organization’s Executive Director shared with me. She had noticed that a good amount of the soup-kitchen/food-for-work program’s current clients were formally people who had themselves volunteered to feed hungry people previously. She described it as a “changing of the guard.”
It’s also helpful for people with an eye on ending American food-insecurity to note that not everyone we are trying to serve right now (people we classify as “food-insecure”) is going hungry everyday or even every week. All of them however have missed meals as a result of being financially able to provide it for themselves and their families and more importantly, “food-insecurity” is what comes right before going hungry. In this regard our food-rescue work is about cutting hunger off at the pass.
You can help.