One in six going hungry in America
According to a report filed by The U.S. Department of Agriculture, 49 million Americans lack dependable access to adequate food supplies, the largest number since the government began keeping track of this statistic. Worse still, nearly 17 million children – one in every five - live in households where food runs short, up from 12 million in the preceding year. Included in that number are the 1.1 million children who, at times, are outright hungry without anywhere to turn for nutrition.
According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,
These numbers are a wake-up call . . . for us to get very serious about food security and hunger, about nutrition and food safety in this country.
A wake up call? Isn’t that what happens when a crisis is going to come if we don’t take steps to fix a problem?
With one of every six Americans unable to get enough food, I would think we are well past the wake up call stage.
And it’s not getting better. As this graph indicates, here in the wealthiest nation on the planet, hunger continues to be a growing problem.
While the poor economy has certainly played a role, hunger in America is not simply the result of not enough jobs to go around. The report reveals that most families struggling to get enough food have at least one adult working in a full time job. This would suggest that insufficient wages are every bit as much to blame as a shortage in jobs.
Among those most seriously affected are households where mothers are raising children alone where more than one in three single mothers reported struggling to feed their family while one in seven claim that, at some point during the year, someone in the home had gone hungry. In other words, not just not enough food of sufficient quality – but no food at all.
If the ability to feed its population is a measurement of a society’s success, it appears we aren’t doing very well. Almost 50 million without adequate, year-round food supplies… almost 50 million without adequate health care… millions of children receiving inadequate education…does anyone sense a pattern developing here?
With hunger reaching this rate and rising, sooner or later we are going to have to chill out on defending the empire by engaging in wars around the world and focus on the people here at home. It’s not only an army that runs on its stomach – everyone else has to eat too.