Nearly 50 Million Americans Suffer From Food Insecurity
For the third year in a row, about 1 in 6 people in America are living in a home where food acquisition is a challenge. These homes are known as food insecure households according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 49 million people, including 16 million children, face hunger on a daily or weekly basis. Five million homes struggling to provide food for its inhabitants include seniors over 65. This data was collected through surveying preformed in December 2010.
Organizations like Share Our Strength and Feeding America are working together with federally funded programs to ensure that these 49 million people find it easier to eat. High unemployment levels, coupled with large consumer debts and a depressed economy, have risen the level of hungry adults and children to levels near what was experienced in the Great Depression. These hunger organizations are working to ensure that Congress doesn’t cut crucial funding to keep Americans fed as they look to lower the federal deficit.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act greatly helped reduce more hunger in low income households through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The temporary ARRA benefits helped people through 3 to 6 months patches of income instability, preventing many families from going hungry due to employment problems or unexpected illness.
SNAP feeds over 45 million people with low-incomes, with 79% of households including a disabled or elderly person or children. The House is voting now on a plan to cut funding for SNAP which will leave 350,000 woman and children on WIC without help, 150,000 seniors to fend for themselves and many other SNAP recipients without a source for food. If the nation’s food safety net is cut, many people will start to fall through the cracks. A lack of food prevents adults from staying healthy enough to work and keeps children from getting the education they deserve.