Hunger In America
We Americans seem to think that hungry people only live outside of our country. I was shocked to learn the statistics of hungry people within our country. How can we help?
Hunger Knows No Country Lines
As a child growing up my heart always sunk when I`d see the faces of the children starving in the third world countries. Pleas for money and sponsorship to help put food in their empty bellies. My mother would get upset with me because without asking I would call the telephone number on the screen and pledge to make a difference. My heart was in the right place. Now, as an adult I still see those same pleas, although I must admit that my heart has become a bit more hardened and I don`t react like I used to. I gave away my hard earned money once to often, only to see the person who was homeless come into my store and buy alcohol or cigarettes with it. I equated homelessness and handouts with the lazy and started to think that they could change things if they really wanted to.
Last night, while winding down from the day`s activities I turned on the T.V. and started flipping through the recordings I have on my DVR. I settled on a show, a show about the hungry in America, and I watched. Not even fifteen minutes into the show I was bawling my eyes out. I was deeply saddened by the stories of these people who were once making a decent monetary living, were now standing in line at food banks, waiting for a box that was supposed to sustain their family of 5 or more, for a month. These people are honest working, morally sound individuals who value God and their families more than anything else in the world. Due to no misdeeds of their own, the rug was pulled out from under them, their salaries were cut in half or more, and are now faced with losing their homes, or have already lost their homes. One wife and mother of three I believe it was, can take a chicken, make soup, and feed her family for three days! I found that astounding. In my household of five, sometimes four depending on if my husband is in town, my chicken soup lasts a day or two. She will buy three chickens at a time and cook them all so she`s not using as much electricity as if she were to cook them individually. She will serve graham crackers with chocolate syrup on top, to hold the walnuts in place that she puts on the crackers for protein. She will cut up celery, and cheese into chunks and serve that as dinner because there is nothing else left in the house.
A Few Current Statistics
I thought it might help to see a few numbers concerning what our children are facing. To me, seeing an adult in need is heart breaking enough, but seeing innocent children go hungry in America, where we throw away food and super size our meals, just kills me. The detriment done to their physical bodies, not to mention their spirit, from consistently missing a meal or two is alarming. It drastically affects their learning capabilities and ability to focus in school, and it taxes their heart and other internal organs.I`m not talking about the "I`m hungry, let me rummage through the cupboard and find something to eat." I`m talking about hunger pangs that don`t go away and instead of playing with transformers and Barbie dolls, they are worrying about where their next meal is coming from.
- 16.2 million, that`s more than 1 in 5 children are at risk of hunger
- 15.7 million children in America live at the poverty line
- 15.1 percent of Americans live at or below the poverty line, which is set as an annual income of $22.350.00 for a family of four
- This is the largest number of estimated affected people since we started keeping track in 1956, and the highest poverty rate since 1994.
These statistics just blow my mind. It is so hard for me to comprehend how this can happen in what is known as the richest country in the world.
How We Can Help
If you`re like me, this news not only makes me sad but it also leaves me searching for ways that I can make a difference. Here are some ideas for you. You can take a pledge in which you donate a set number of dollars to help feed our hungry. Like I said earlier, I am now more skeptical than I used to be so I research before I give to make sure these programs are legitimate and the dollars go where they`re supposed to. The link I provided called "One Way You Can Help" has numerous resources that allow us to do something to help these children.
You can take non-perishable items to local food banks or drop them off at a community church. Alot of retail stores have bins that donate to organizations and you can drop food off there as well.
I have a local, independent coffee shop that gathers up needed foodstuffs and distributes them to my community.
The "Feeding America" link below has state by state listings of food banks and also web addresses. In my opinion, if we each get involved in our own neighborhoods, and do something to help our community, we can help stop this tragedy. We have to band together as a nation though, and everyone needs to do their part in their own hometown.