- 50 million Americans are “food insecure,” or near hunger.
- The average monthly SNAP (food stamp) benefit is just $287 per household, or $4.30 per person each day. That’s barely enough to put decent meals on the table. Still, investments in SNAP, WIC, and other food programs are under constant attack in Washington.
- The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 29.7 million people live in low-income areas more than 1 mile from a supermarket. These communities lack adequate access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food choices. The same communities without supermarkets and grocery stores often feature fast food, liquor, and convenience stores selling unhealthy, high-fat, high-sugar foods.
- About 11 percent of the poorest Americans without cars live in “food deserts”—where one-third or more of the residents are beyond walking distance to the nearest grocery store.
- In 2010, 20 percent of U.S. households with children reported food insecurity compared to 12 percent of households without children.
- More than 16 million kids (1 out of 5) in America live in a household that struggles to put food on the table.
- While 20 million kids receive free or reduced-price school lunch, only 9.8 million of those kids get free or reduced-price school breakfast. Nine in 10 teachers agree breakfast is extremely important for academic success.
- In 2009, 3.4 million (8.9 percent) U.S. seniors 65 or older lived in poverty.
What You Can Do
- Hold Food Day events that highlight issues of food access, hunger, and poverty including planting school and urban gardens, getting people to eat for a week on a SNAP budget, hosting lectures and demonstrations, or working with corner stores to provide healthy options.
- Send a letter to or call your U.S. senator and representative to encourage them to support more funding for SNAP, WIC, and school meal programs.
- Work with your area food bank to create nutrition standards, or to launch a food education program for the community, as the Capital Area Food Bank did for Food Day 2012.
- Consider organizing a week-long of activities in between World Food Day on October 16 and October 24, focusing on the problem of hunger in our communities and around the world and aligning with the global movement to end hunger.
- Visit the websites of Healthy Food Access, Feeding America, Food Research and Action, Wholesome Wave, Share Our Strength and The Food Trust to learn more about what you can do now.
Photo Credit: CFreedom Flickr