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Nov. 16 2009 - 5:22 pm | 87 views | 2 recommendations | 6 comments

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.

Via Washington Post

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.


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  1. collapse expand

    One in six people? That’s alarming. You’re right – we’re past the wake up call stage and well into the crisis.

    I know that in Chicago’s public housing, there’s a summer food program, which makes sure that when kids aren’t in school, they can still get breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s so sad to me thinking of kids on their summer vacation, who usually can get free meals at school, going hungry. I’m glad there are programs like this in public housing, but it sounds like there are a lot more places and families that need to be served.

    These are our most basic needs – food, housing, health care. We have to focus on them, lest we find that we don’t have a country to defend.

  2. collapse expand

    AH yes food, the next federal entitlement program. Sorry Rick, I have to pull out my John McEnroe here and say “You cannot be serious”. FOr every study you show me that indicates children are going hungry in America, I’ll show you two that says american children are among the most obese in the world, and largly (no pun intended) those below the poverty level.

    • collapse expand

      I haven’t figured out why you are so sarcastic with me, but oh well…

      If you are going to drip with sarcasm, shouldn’t you at least make a cogent argument?

      I’m quite certain you can show me studies that say American kids are among the most obese in the world. In fact, who needs a study? Just look around. But, uh, what does that have to say about what I wrote about? Are you actually saying that because we have more obese children that that must mean we don’t have children who are hungry?
      If that’s the logic you are employing, I’d be very happy to escort you to some large areas in my city where you will see children who are most certainly not obese. It would be hard for them to be since they don’t all that many meals.

      I also don’t recall suggesting ‘the next federal entitlement program.’

      I am, however, curious as to your explanation as to why the government would want to put out a report that makes the government look so bad?

      As for your next comment about schools, I swear I have no idea if you actually agree or are, once again, being sarcastic. If you’re serous, I agree- the public education system is awful. If you’re being sarcastic – well, what can I do?

      And as for you comment ‘are you kidding me?’ when discussing hungry people – really? Let me know where you live. Maybe I could point you towards a few places where you can see for yourself if this is something to be kidded about.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Forgot to mention. Millions without adequate education? YOur sooooo right on that one. Its called the public school system.

  4. collapse expand

    Hi Rick,
    I understand what is going on. As we fail to provide social programs, hunger in America will only escalate. We must, “get on the same page”. I started a business not too long ago called Love Crunch, in response to hunger in America. We make nutrition bars, they’re originally made into circles, then cut in halves. When you buy one, literally, the other half is given to a person going hungry. I do not wish to advertise here, but please check out my work at http://www.lovecrunch.org
    Maybe we can assist each other in fighting hunger in America. Thanks for helping raise awareness of hunger in America Rick.

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