1 in 10 American's were hungry or on the verge of hunger in 2006. This comes alongside other bad news from America's Second Harvest (national food-bank network and the largest hunger-relief charity). Second Harvest is also reporting that their 200+ food banks are at "critical shortages."
There simply may be no food for many families when the rest of the nation gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving and religious holidays," said Vicki Escarra, president of Second Harvest.
According to the Christian Science Monitor Second Harvest is reporting two major causes for this decline in food available through their network:
- Higher Costs - oil prices are hurting both food banks and individuals. It costs more for the banks to transport the food which results in their dollars not going as far. With individuals facing rising heating bills, housing costs, and health insurance they have less money available to purchase food. Food Stamps are also declining in value due to inflation.
- Less Surplus Food - A strong agricultural economy means the federal government has less need to buy up surplus products, and less surplus to pass on to food banks. The government's support for food banks is down 70 percent over the past three years (as measured by its dollar value).
Second Harvest is trying to help eradicate hunger throughout the year through advocacy, food banks, education, and more. This year they are trying to provide a Thanksgiving feast for 23 million people (which is actually 10 million less than the 33 million food insecure).
It is sad that there is so much need in the US. But it also a growing trend, that we are falling behind in supporting our fellow citizens. I'm not advocating for socialism, but our government needs to take a look at its policies and how they negatively impact millions of people while only benefiting a small group.
Other hunger related resources can be found at the ELCA World Hunger Calendar, which provides 40 days of short readings that make you think and act on hunger issues. This is an interesting journal article entitled Fat Christians in an Age of Hunger?