High Rates of Hunger Persist in U.S.
More than 17.5 million Americans, or 14.3 percent of households, struggled against hunger in 2013, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The percentage of households with children unable to eat nutritious food on a consistent basis was 19.5 percent.
Across the country, food insecurity in 360,000 households was so severe that children skipped meals or didn’t eat for a whole day because they could not afford to put food on the table. Read the USDA report.
In Pennsylvania, numbers were little better, with household food insecurity dropping slightly from an average of 12.5 percent calculated for the years 2008 through 2010, to an average of 11.9 percent between 2011 and 2013. Read a Philadelphia Inquirer summary of the report.
The USDA defines food insecure households as those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. The rate is above the pre-recession rate of 11.1 percent in 2007. The rate of households experiencing serious struggles with hunger was 5.6 percent in 2013, compared with 4.1 percent in 2007.
“Hunger continues to plague too many Americans. We can end hunger in this country, but that takes political will. It is up to our nation’s leaders – Congress, the President, state and local officials – to make sure that workers can earn family supporting wages, and that income supports and nutrition assistance programs reach more people in need and provide more adequate benefits,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. “That means strengthening, not cutting or limiting nutrition programs. For starters, Congress should look at ways to improve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit levels. Ending hunger is an investment that our nation should – and must – make,” concluded Weill.
In other findings, the report shows:
• Food insecurity rates for Black and Hispanic households were substantially above the national average, with 26.1 percent of Black households and 23.7 percent of Hispanic households reporting they struggled against hunger in 2013.
• Rates of food insecurity for white, non-Hispanic households were 10.6 percent, notably below the national average of 14.3 percent.
• In households with children headed by a single woman, the rate was 34.4 percent.
• For ongoing analysis of the research, visit the FRAC website.
What you can do this month to fight hunger:
Help Hit a Home Run Against Hunger – September 23
Join your LAMPa friends at the 2014 Capitol All-Stars Charity Softball Game, starting at 5:30, Sept. 23, at Metro Bank Park, City Island, Harrisburg. Proceeds from the second annual event – which pits lawmakers in an East-vs-West game — benefit Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger Free Pennsylvania. Last year, more than 50 lawmakers participated, raising nearly $63,000. This year, more than 70 legislators have signed on, and the competition is heating up! Come out of a good time and take a swing at hunger! For more information and to bid on auction items, visit CapitolAllStars.com
Can Hunger Event – Sept. 30
Join LAMPa as we help the Central Pennsylvania food Bank line State Street and the Capitol steps with cans in an effort to curb hunger. The goal is to collect one ton of food to help our neighbors in need. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can reserve a block by committing to donate at least 250 canned food items. To reserve a block, contact Jonas Tenney at 717-724-3196. Blocks will also be reserved for donations from the public that day. Please stop by!