The world produces enough food every day to feed every single man, woman, and child – 7 billion people – 2,700 calories, several hundred more than the recommended daily amount for most adults. The National Resources Defense Council released a report in 2012 documenting that 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, equivalent to 20 pounds of food per person every month and $165 billion wasted each year. Yet, the World Food Programme (WFP) reports that one in eight people – 842 million people – go to bed hungry every night. Most live in developing countries, and children and women are particularly susceptible. Sixty-six million primary-aged school children attend classes hungry ...view middle of the document...
” In the case of malnutrition, malnourished people can be underweight, have stunted height, and yes, even be obese. The World Health Organization explains that food security or insecurity is contingent upon availability, access, and use.
Food insecurity is a term that Kendall Smith ’10, unfortunately has to use every day in her current role as Marketing Coordinator for the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana.
“Here, we don’t use the term ‘hunger’ as much as we use ‘food insecure.’ The USDA defines food insecurity as someone not having access to enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
According to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief charity in the U.S., 49 million Americans lived with food insecurity in 2012. Households with children, especially those with single parents, and those who identified as Black or Hispanic, reported higher rates of food insecurity than the average. And a population that is routinely overlooked – seniors – accounted for 4.8 million of those who were food insecure in 2011.
Smith believes that hunger relief efforts like Feeding America are needed on both a national and local level to truly build positive thought and action:
“We [the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana] are actually a member of Feeding America. They work with 250 Food Banks across the states. Feeding America helps us network, gets us grants as well as other funding, and provides us with corporate donors. Feeding America is a big partner for us as is Feed the Children. Through the advocacy of these big, national organizations, we are able to secure commercials and lobbyists to help further our efforts.
With so much food insecurity affecting the nation, large-scale efforts have been underway. In an effort to tackle obesity and hunger head on, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in December 2010. The bill, which helped 115,000 children gain access to school meal programs, passed with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
In her remarks at the signing, First Lady Michelle Obama noted:
“We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, because in the end, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. Nothing. And our hopes for their future should drive every single decision that we make.”
A National Effort
Feeding America donates food to more than 25 million Americans every year and serves more than 200 food banks across 50 states, supplying upwards of 2 billion pounds of food. The Meals on Wheels Association of America focuses on the senior population, providing meal services to those in need. Oxfam International, a confederation of 13 organizations working together, attempts to bring about lasting change by directly working with communities and empowering the underserved to better their lives.
Joanna Warren ’## is working to address food...