When someone says "world hunger," your mind may wander to a poor village or desert country.
Unfortunately, hunger is an issue faced by people all over the world, for all different reasons. In the United States, 50 million people are considered "food insecure," which means they don't know where or how they will get their next meal. That frightening number accounts for one in six Americans, and is made even more terrifying when you consider that only 45 percent of Americans say hunger is "a serious issue." And yet, according to Pew, nearly one in four people said they have trouble putting food on the table.
“We can end hunger in America, but it won’t be through emergency feeding and charity," says Hannah Lupien, Policy Director at West Side Campaign Against Hunger. "Without a higher minimum wage and robust social support programs we will continue to put Band-Aid solutions on the problem.”Nation Swell
It's astounding and sad that America stands alone as being an incredibly wealthy country that isn't feeding its people.
Of course, there is no shortage of food or charity in the United States. And unemployment isn't the culprit, either; 85 percent of food insecure homes have at least one working adult. The real issues are public policy and poverty.
"Charity is a great thing but it's not the way to end hunger," Jeff Bridges, National Spokesperson for No Kid Hungry says in the critically acclaimed documentary A Place At The Table, which profiles struggling families all over America. "We don't fund our Department of Defense through charity... if another nation was doing this to our children, we'd be at war."
"I know what it's like to have your children look at you in your eyes and tell you they're hungry," Barbie from Philadelphia says. "And you have to try and force them to go to sleep, as if they did something wrong."
While house panels have cut programs like food stamps, which puts more people at risk of becoming hungry, income inequality continues to grow. Unfortunately, while the problem gets talked about by administration after administration, it only seems to be getting worse.
Perhaps most upsetting of all, though, is how close America once came to eradicating hunger. In the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson laid out his "Great Society" legislation that nearly ended hunger for good by doubling the amount of spending on helping the poor. The programs instituted by the legislation were a massive success until they were decimated in the 1980s.