The news gets more abysmal by the minute. In this formerly very wealthy county, record numbers of children go hungry. Now we learn that food stamp use is way up and those adults and families once averse to such a program are now willingly taking part in its offerings. This is no time to hide behind the wall of fear of notice. Estimates indicate that the food stamp program is still not reaching 100% of those in need. Going hungry has become a severe problem that continues to grow daily.
In schools the number of children who get to school early for breakfast continues to climb. Those on subsidized lunch programs and children in afternoon care rely on the nutrients offered as school-based food programs may mean the single hot meal in their daily routines. With a special initiative from the USDA, schools will receive additional funds for demonstrating improved menus and healthier quality of foods served. This is a positive first step for a growing national crisis.
Just before Thanksgiving the White House announced a more aggressive program focused on the alarming spread of hunger. It’s allied with its commitment to volunteering: Feed A Neighbor. This is a program tied into the Corporation for National and Community Service and linked to an effort to increase volunteerism between now and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, the National Day of Service, January 18.
Hunger issues are now so profound that we are at the same dire level of food needs as we were almost 15 years ago. Our progress has been eroded. Additional tactics need to be implemented after the January focus as the severity far exceeds the 6-week focus!
Talking about a problem never makes it go away. Besides USDA, Share our Strength, United We Serve, and the major corporations and foundations that have stepped in with action plans, the severity of the issue demands more than mere introspective attention.
We cannot continue to feast in our homes while others go hungry.