Why We Are Doing This…

14 Dec

As I write this I can not stop eating my work. It is excellent.

While I eat, read this:

Here are the sobering statistics: Nearly 17 million children were facing hunger at some point last year. That’s 17.2% of all children, or almost one in four. Among them are:

  • 5.1 million kids —43.6%—living at or below the poverty threshold.
  • 5.9 million kids living with a married couple.
  • 5.8 million kids -one-third—who live in single-woman households .
  • 5.3 million Caucasian kids—1.4 million or more than any other racial group.
  • 10.6 million kids living within metro areas—5 times the number living outside metro areas.
  • 5.2 million in the South—more than in any other region of the country. (strength.org)

Oh and this:

Why Childhood Hunger Is Important

 

hunger-facts1-small.jpg Hunger impairs our children’s health in significant and long-lasting ways:

  • Children who struggle with hunger are sick more often, recover more slowly, and are more likely to be hospitalized.
  • They are more likely to experience headaches, stomachaches, colds, ear infections and fatigue.
  • Children who face hunger are more susceptible to obesity and its harmful health consequences as children and as adults.

 

Hunger impedes our childrens’ ability to learn and perform academically:

  • Undernourished children under the age of 3 cannot learn as much, as fast or as well.
  • Lack of enough nutritious food impairs a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school.
  • Children who don’t get enough nutritious food are more susceptible to the negative effects of skipping breakfast on their ability to think and learn.

 

Hunger predisposes our children to emotional and behavioral difficulties:

  • Children who regularly do not get enough nutritious food have more behavioral, emotional and academic problems and tend to be more aggressive and anxious.
  • Teens who regularly do not get enough to eat are more likely to be suspended from school and have difficulty getting along with other kids.

 

Food Security

 

50.1 million Americans – including more than 17 million children – lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis, according to USDA’s report, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009, published in November 2010. They are food insecure and struggle with hunger.

  • Food insecurity exists in 17.4 million households in America, 4.2 million of them with children.
  • Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average among households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, among households with children headed by single parents, and among Black and Hispanic households.
  • Food insecurity was most common in large cities, but still exists in rural areas, suburbs and other outlying areas around large cities.
  • The typical (median) food-secure household spent 33 percent more for food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and composition.
  • Fifty-seven percent of food-insecure households in the survey reported that in the previous month they had participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs: SNAP (food stamps), WIC (Supplemental) and school lunch.

 

The full USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009, published November 2010 is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERR108/ERR108.pdf (PDF).

THIS IS THE PLAN:

There’s Strength in Numbers

At Share Our Strength, we understand this completely. That’s why we’ve developed a powerful 10-point plan to help us effectively end childhood hunger in America. The plan helps bridge the gaps between existing programs that work and the families who need them. It’s a great plan, and we invite you to join us in making it happen.

  1. Provide all children with a healthy breakfast. On a typical school day, 55.4% of America’s schoolchildren who are eligible for a healthy free or reduced-price school breakfast don’t get one. Our goal is to make sure every kid who can receive such a healthy start to his/her day does.
  2. Encourage healthy food choices. Courses that teach practical nutrition information, cooking skills and food budgeting help families learn how to get more healthy meals out of tight budgets. Our plan supports such nutrition education programs — including Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters™ — as ways to address childhood hunger, obesity and other diet-related diseases.
  3. Help eligible families meet needs at home with access to food stamps. Nationally, only 60% of those eligible for the federal Food Stamp program receive benefits. Half of those recipients are children. Share Our Strength’s plan supports work to make food stamps more accessible to everyone who is eligible.
  4. Improve the economic security of working families. Share Our Strength’s plan helps families achieve economic stability by supporting organizations that help families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs. In 2003, the EITC lifted 4.4 million people out of poverty, including 2.4 million children.
  5. Increase families’ access to fresh, affordable produce in their own neighborhoods. For families living in America’s poor and working-class neighborhoods, fresh produce is both hard to find and expensive. Our plan supports efforts that bring solutions such as full-service supermarkets, farmers markets that accept food stamps and community gardens to these neighborhoods.
  6. Help afterschool programs provide healthy meals and snacks. You’ve heard all the news about what kids are eating in school. Share Our Strength is also concerned about what they’re eating (or not) after school. Our goal is to encourage healthy snacking habits that kids will take into the future.
  7. Expand the reach of summer meals programs. For too many kids, school vacations can be hungry times. Less than 10% of children eligible for summer food programs participate, leaving more than 16 million kids who don’t. Our plan supports efforts to make these programs accessible to more kids who need them and to make sure that the foods they eat are healthy.
  8. Ensure access to balanced, nutritious diets for all pregnant women and preschool children. Good childhood health starts with good prenatal nutrition that continues through the preschool years. Yet too few eligible moms take advantage of the federal WIC program that provides nutrition education and supplemental food for qualifying families. Our plan supports efforts to enroll more eligible moms in these programs and others like them.
  9. Ensure access to nutritious food in shelters and food pantries. Food banks, pantries, shelters and other emergency food providers need more food, especially healthy food. Fresh protein, produce and dairy products rank at the top of the list of the foods that pantries and shelters need most. Our plan supports efforts to help these providers offer a steady supply of healthier options.
  10. Provide comprehensive public education about available resources and assistance. Families facing hunger need more and better information about the programs that will help their kids eat healthy meals no matter how tough things get financially. This is why education is a steady theme in our plan and why we support those who provide such education and outreach as well as those who advocate for it.

Take a Closer Look

Learn more about the invisible childhood hunger in America and our strategy to end it. Download Share Our Strength’s Plan to End Childhood Hunger in America. (PDF) (1.16MB).

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One Response to “Why We Are Doing This…”

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  1. Why We Are Doing This… « The Blog | americantoday - December 14, 2010

    […] post: Why We Are Doing This… « The Blog Share and […]

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