Is hunger in America an impulse purchase for the holidays?
If a visitor from another planet arrived today, that’s what our alien friend might conclude. At least that’s what the evidence would suggest. There are food drives in abundance this time of year—and not as many feeding programs that circle the calendar.
As shocking as that opening line sounds today—feeding America’s hungry does, indeed, seem to be a seasonal event in America. Our local grocery store places pre-packed brown bags of food right at the checkout counter—right along with Tic Tacs, popular magazines and batteries. The bags are only ten bucks each. This time of year, customers might pick up one or two to help feed the hungry—on an impulse.
Despite what our alien might conclude about this behavior, we know that hunger is America is not a seasonal event. It’s a growing trend. Record numbers of Americans don’t have enough food to eat, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Over 50 million Americans—including 17 million children—are food insecure, meaning that they don’t have access on a regular basis to enough food for an active and healthy life.
Many live at starvation’s door 365 days a year. Even in America.
Food drives help. Tons of voluntary time and money go into laudable efforts to feed America’s hungry. But it’s not enough. I don’t mean to add indigestion to our Thanksgiving feasts this week, but I’m still wondering: