More Than Just A Number

On September 9, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released data collected in December 2014 confirming that 14 percent of American households are still food insecure.  That means that 1 in 7 households in the United States of America struggled to provide food for their family members at some point, or for the duration of 2014.  Regretfully, more than 48 million Americans continue to face hunger.  That’s 1 out of every 7 individuals you come into contact with on any given day who don’t know if they will have enough food for the day, week, month, or even months on end.  

Unfortunately, there was also a significant increase in very low food security levels among households with single mothers, rising from 11 percent to 13 percent in only 1 year. Very low food security is the severest level of food insecurity and indicates that the household’s food intake was reduced to the point that normal eating patterns were disrupted due to lack of financial resources.  This level of food insecurity is particularly devastating for families with children.  

As referenced in our previous article, The Changing Face of Hunger in America, food insecurity can be even more detrimental to children’s health.  A lack of adequate nutrition can change the architecture of a child's brain, affecting his or her mental, physical, and emotional health.  Malnutrition affects children’s ability to retain information, focus in school, and can stunt their growth and hinder their physical activity levels.  Among those 1 in 7 food-insecure households, are 15 million children whose parents or guardians struggle to feed them.  Also, 3 million of them include at least one senior.  Between children and seniors, that’s 18 million individuals who are more than likely unable to work and maintain adequate food stores without assistance from family or friends.

Our partner, Feeding America is doing incredible work to fight hunger. Their network of 200 food banks and over 60,000 food pantries and programs provides more meals to children, families and seniors than any other charitable organization: more than 3.6 billion meals each year.  Now, your per diems can go even further than before.  Every dollar donated provides an estimated 11 meals for the hungry.  Feeding America has also begun helping the people they serve to build a pathway out of poverty through national partnerships in the food, housing, health, and employment and income sectors.

Despite our joint efforts to fight hunger and poverty, the latest USDA report proves that we still have a long way to go. If we join together, we can help provide more food to more people struggling with hunger.  Your per diems will now go even further in our fight against domestic hunger.  The individuals served by Feeding America's food banks, pantries and programs may now gain access to the resources they need to achieve long-term stability.

It’s not about putting a Bandaid™ on hunger.  We envision a day when no American goes hungry.  Our vision requires a long-term solution to this very real, very big problem.  “Behind these numbers are the faces of millions of women, men, and children – our neighbors who are struggling to find enough to eat,” said Matt Knott, President of Feeding America.  We at Per Diems Against Poverty agree that no person in our country, with our vast resources, should have to choose between food and other basic necessities.  These people are not just numbers listed in the latest USDA report.  They are people who dream of providing a good life for themselves and their families, just as you and I.