Hunger is a rising problem in every community—including yours. What exactly is hunger? Hunger can be defined as the physical sensation of desiring food. And this is a sensation known to too many people. Many people imagine hunger to be a problem found only in third-world countries, but that is not the case. In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that nearly one in every six Americans is food insecure. Food insecurity is the lack of access to adequate food resulting from the shortage of money or other resources. That makes fifty million Americans who face hunger as an everyday reality—and, for the past four years, we have not seen that number go down.
Some families lack enough healthy foods because they don’t have access to stores that carry those foods. A food desert is an area where food is non-existent, not healthy or too expensive for the people that live in that area. Some researchers believe a link exists between access to affordable nutritious foods and the intake of those foods. However, other studies have shown that even after healthier food options are more widely available in food deserts, many consumers continue to make unhealthy choices based on personal preferences.
Children, ages five and under, need proper nutrition for a healthy, active life during a critical time for their brains and bodies to grow and develop. Living in a food insecure household could be harmful to their future and unfortunately, 4 million children do not get the proper nutrition.
As of 2012, research shows that 21.6% of United States children are living in food insecure households. This lack of nutrition leads to a lack of energy, and could potentially lead to a lack of many other social skills that a child needs. There are many ways you can help. Go to a local food bank and volunteer. Start a fundraiser with a group of friends and give back to a local hunger prevention organization. Reach out to a national organization devoted to putting an end to hunger, and learn more ways you can help. There are a handful of organizations like United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Feeding America, National Anti-Hunger Organization (NAHO), No Kid Hungry, Stop Hunger Now and your local community food bank that are waiting for you to get involved! Take this quiz to see what you know about hunger, and to learn more ways you can help.