Posted on 01/02/2013 at 01:37:15 PM by Student BloggerBy Joyanna Hansen
With the holiday season here, thoughts of parties, Christmas cookies, presents, and meals with family and friends are on many people's minds. However, for millions of Americans, putting food on the table is a daily struggle with no exceptions for the holiday season.
The Economic Research Service, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture, released a report in September 2012 evaluating the prevalence of household food insecurity in the United States, with food insecurity defined as “difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.” According to the report, 14.9% of American households, or approximately 18 million households, experienced food insecurity at some point during 2011; 5.7% of US households, or almost 7 million households, had “very low food security” in which “food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.”(1) Surprisingly, over half of these food-insecure households had participated in a Federal food and nutrition assistance program, highlighting the difficulty of adequately feeding a household even with government assistance. (1)
Globally, almost 870 million people experienced chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012, according to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2) According to the report, the vast majority of these individuals reside in developing countries.
These statistics on hunger are heartbreaking and unacceptably high, illustrating the fact that hungry families are all around us. Fortunately, there are a number of great organizations devoted to fighting hunger and malnutrition both in the United States and around the world, a few of which will be highlighted here. For a much more comprehensive list of hunger charities, visit Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization which lists and evaluates many charities in different categories.
Domestic organizations: Feeding America is the leading domestic hunger-relief organization, supporting 200 local food banks around the United States and advocating for food-insecure households. Feeding America welcomes donations and volunteers, and has a food bank locator on its website so people can identify and contact their local food bank directly.
Global organizations: Action Against Hunger is a global non-profit organization “committed to ending world hunger.” Action Against Hunger focuses on treating and preventing malnutrition, providing safe water to communities, and developing “sustainable solutions” to hunger. Action Against Hunger welcomes donations and offers a number of ways to get involved on its website. This organization has been given top ratings by Charity Navigator.
Looking for a unique, last minute gift? Heifer International is an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty around the globe by giving livestock and agricultural training to needy families, providing a sustainable source of food and income. Their website features an extensive gift catalog where you can purchase ducks, rabbits, water buffalo, and more on behalf of someone else for a truly memorable gift!
Thanks to these organizations and many more, it's easier than ever to take individual action towards reducing malnutrition and hunger around the world.
1. Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson. Household Food Insecurity in the United States in 2011. Economic Research Report No. (ERR-141) 37 pp, September 2012
2. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States. Executive Summary: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2845e/i2845e00.pdf