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THE PERVASIVE HUNGER in our nation is either our national tragedy, our national shame, or both. It is almost incomprehensible that the richest nation in the history of the world would fail to adequately address this American tragedy that devastates so many of our citizens. We study, we talk, we think, we ponder, and in the end we still fail to act!
Hunger is the result of not having enough resources to provide oneself with adequate nutrition. Professionals who deal with hunger talk in terms of being "food insecure". That means that an individual does not have enough food to lead a normal, productive, active life.
The Census Bureau estimates the population of the United Sates to be 307,006,550 with a poverty rate of 12.1%. That means there are 37,147,792 people living below the poverty level. When we look at the national population that seeks emergency assistance through the Feeding America Food Bank system, we find that 41% receive food stamps.
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In addition, 40% of this group report that they have to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities and 34% have to choose between paying for food or medicines or medical care. Children make up 38% of this vulnerable population!
According to a study done by the Food Research and Action Center, almost 50% of all children in the United States will have to rely on food stamps at some point in their life. Those of us in the "Food Banking" sector know that those children will face hunger.
The real solution to the hunger problem in this nation is to publicly recognize that there is a problem, followed by a determination to change our national policies. These policies presently give hunger a low priority in the allocation of national resources. Self-education is a critical first step. We hope that you are willing to educate yourself on hunger. If you do, you will come to the conclusion that the level of hunger in America is totally unacceptable.
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