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Editorial: What Can We Do About
Hunger In Our Community
Chances are you know someone who has had to make difficult decisions when it comes to hunger.
Decisions like whether to pay the rent or pay for food, or the choice of which member of the family
gets to eat dinner and which one doesn’t. Hunger effects millions of Americans every year. In 2013,
17.5 million households were food insecure at some point during the year meaning that they had diffi-
culty providing food for all members of the family (Coleman 1). Studies have shown that the effects of
hunger can have lasting consequences, especially for children. Hunger can cause developmental and
behavioral problems as well as poor academic performance. For babies hunger can cause permanent
brain damage (Urban Child Institute). It may feel like there is little we can do to fight this problem
but there are things we can do that can make a difference. Even small things can add up and what is
needed could be a little of our time, extra food items, or monetary donations. We can make an impact
on this devastating issue of hunger in US, easing the pain for those that need it most.
Currently there is great debate by Republicans over cutting programs that are in place to aid hunger.
According to the USDA’s 2015 Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan, $84 Billion dol-
lars will be spent just on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or more commonly
known as food stamps (49). This astronomical figure is a huge burden on taxpayer dollars and it rose
from $21 billion in 2002 to $80 billion dollars in 2013 (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Participation and Costs). There is also concern over misuse and fraud. Those that say SNAP costs
have gotten out of control, claim that people are taking advantage of a free handout. A report done by
the GAO found that though states have been given tools to help combat Food Stamp fraud they claim
that they are difficult to use and have limited staff making it hard to fully address the problem (8).
Though fraud is an issue within the SNAP program, according to the GAO the percentage of fraud
estimated to be taking place from 2009-2011 is about 1.3% (6). The FNS, Food and Nutrition Service,
has implemented plans to issue grants to help states get better tools and technology to prevent fraud
(38). In regard to misuse, according to the USDA the largest percentage of people receiving aid are
children. In addition roughly half of new participants only use SNAP to provide assistance while they
are getting back on their feet, leaving the program within nine months. SNAP also helps the commu-
nity even more by generating economic activity- every $5 in SNAP benefits generates $9 in communi-
ty spending. Farmers benefit from SNAP too, keeping up with food demand generates 3,000 farming
jobs (The Benefits of SNAP).
The government is just one source of relief when it comes to hunger, another source is local food
banks. Local food banks help bridge the gap between those who qualify for federal funding and those
who don’t. For example, approximately 27% of those who are food insecure in 2012 were households
with incomes that made them ineligible for federal nutrition assistance programs (Weinfield 3). Food
banks also solicit local businesses as well as individuals for contributions. Volunteers help food banks
function as well as distribute goods to community charities where they are handed out to those in
need.
On an individual level, the issue of hunger in America can feel overwhelming. Maybe hunger is
something people think only affect the homeless when in reality, there are places all over America
like Clark County, Nevada where 58% of children in the School District are enrolled in the free to
reduced-priced meal programs (Three Square). There are ways that even individual people can help.
It is not possible for local food banks to operate without volunteers, to find one near you Feeding
America has a website that makes it very easy www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/.
Food donations are always greatly appreciated. Some of the most needed items are canned meats
such as ham, tuna, and chicken, dried and canned beans, canned soups, rice, pasta, and cheese. Also
monetary donations go a long way at food banks, some local businesses can even sponsor a dollar per
dollar match for all donations, doubling the amount that is raised. Finally, make your opinions heard,
contact congress and let them know to support food banks and the community. By working together
through volunteering or donations, we can accomplish a great deal to end hunger.
1. Cloeman-Jensen, Alisha; Gregory, Christian; and Singh, Anita. “Household Food Security in the
United States in 2013.” (2013): Economic Research Service, USDA. Web. 24 June 2015.
2. “Nutrition and Early Brain Development.” The Urban Child Institute. (25 March 2011). Web. 1 July
2015. http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/articles/updates/nutrition-and-early-brain-development
3. “USDA FY 2015 Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan.” (2015): USDA. Web. 24 June
2015. http://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/FY15budsum.pdf.
4.”Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation and Costs” (5 June 2015): USDA. Web.
1 July 2015. http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/pd/SNAPsummary.pdf
5. “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (August 2014): GAO. Web. 1 July 2015. http://www.
gao.gov/assets/670/665383.pdf
6. “The Benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (2011): USDA. Web. 24 June
2015. http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/bc_benefits.pdf
7. Weinfield, Nancy; Mills, Gregory; Borger, Christine; Gearing, Maeve; Macaluso, Theodore;
Montaquila, Jill; Zadlewski, Sheila. “Hunger in America National Report.” (2014): Feeding America.
Web. 24 June 2015.
8. Proof Interactive. Three Square Food Bank. (2015) Web. 24 June 2015. http://www.threesquare.
org/
by: Julie Ansell

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Editorial

  • 1. Editorial: What Can We Do About Hunger In Our Community Chances are you know someone who has had to make difficult decisions when it comes to hunger. Decisions like whether to pay the rent or pay for food, or the choice of which member of the family gets to eat dinner and which one doesn’t. Hunger effects millions of Americans every year. In 2013, 17.5 million households were food insecure at some point during the year meaning that they had diffi- culty providing food for all members of the family (Coleman 1). Studies have shown that the effects of hunger can have lasting consequences, especially for children. Hunger can cause developmental and behavioral problems as well as poor academic performance. For babies hunger can cause permanent brain damage (Urban Child Institute). It may feel like there is little we can do to fight this problem but there are things we can do that can make a difference. Even small things can add up and what is needed could be a little of our time, extra food items, or monetary donations. We can make an impact on this devastating issue of hunger in US, easing the pain for those that need it most. Currently there is great debate by Republicans over cutting programs that are in place to aid hunger. According to the USDA’s 2015 Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan, $84 Billion dol- lars will be spent just on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or more commonly known as food stamps (49). This astronomical figure is a huge burden on taxpayer dollars and it rose from $21 billion in 2002 to $80 billion dollars in 2013 (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation and Costs). There is also concern over misuse and fraud. Those that say SNAP costs have gotten out of control, claim that people are taking advantage of a free handout. A report done by the GAO found that though states have been given tools to help combat Food Stamp fraud they claim that they are difficult to use and have limited staff making it hard to fully address the problem (8). Though fraud is an issue within the SNAP program, according to the GAO the percentage of fraud estimated to be taking place from 2009-2011 is about 1.3% (6). The FNS, Food and Nutrition Service, has implemented plans to issue grants to help states get better tools and technology to prevent fraud (38). In regard to misuse, according to the USDA the largest percentage of people receiving aid are children. In addition roughly half of new participants only use SNAP to provide assistance while they are getting back on their feet, leaving the program within nine months. SNAP also helps the commu- nity even more by generating economic activity- every $5 in SNAP benefits generates $9 in communi- ty spending. Farmers benefit from SNAP too, keeping up with food demand generates 3,000 farming jobs (The Benefits of SNAP). The government is just one source of relief when it comes to hunger, another source is local food banks. Local food banks help bridge the gap between those who qualify for federal funding and those who don’t. For example, approximately 27% of those who are food insecure in 2012 were households with incomes that made them ineligible for federal nutrition assistance programs (Weinfield 3). Food banks also solicit local businesses as well as individuals for contributions. Volunteers help food banks function as well as distribute goods to community charities where they are handed out to those in need. On an individual level, the issue of hunger in America can feel overwhelming. Maybe hunger is something people think only affect the homeless when in reality, there are places all over America like Clark County, Nevada where 58% of children in the School District are enrolled in the free to reduced-priced meal programs (Three Square). There are ways that even individual people can help. It is not possible for local food banks to operate without volunteers, to find one near you Feeding America has a website that makes it very easy www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/. Food donations are always greatly appreciated. Some of the most needed items are canned meats such as ham, tuna, and chicken, dried and canned beans, canned soups, rice, pasta, and cheese. Also monetary donations go a long way at food banks, some local businesses can even sponsor a dollar per dollar match for all donations, doubling the amount that is raised. Finally, make your opinions heard, contact congress and let them know to support food banks and the community. By working together through volunteering or donations, we can accomplish a great deal to end hunger. 1. Cloeman-Jensen, Alisha; Gregory, Christian; and Singh, Anita. “Household Food Security in the United States in 2013.” (2013): Economic Research Service, USDA. Web. 24 June 2015. 2. “Nutrition and Early Brain Development.” The Urban Child Institute. (25 March 2011). Web. 1 July 2015. http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/articles/updates/nutrition-and-early-brain-development 3. “USDA FY 2015 Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan.” (2015): USDA. Web. 24 June 2015. http://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/FY15budsum.pdf. 4.”Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation and Costs” (5 June 2015): USDA. Web. 1 July 2015. http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/pd/SNAPsummary.pdf 5. “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (August 2014): GAO. Web. 1 July 2015. http://www. gao.gov/assets/670/665383.pdf 6. “The Benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (2011): USDA. Web. 24 June 2015. http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/bc_benefits.pdf 7. Weinfield, Nancy; Mills, Gregory; Borger, Christine; Gearing, Maeve; Macaluso, Theodore; Montaquila, Jill; Zadlewski, Sheila. “Hunger in America National Report.” (2014): Feeding America. Web. 24 June 2015. 8. Proof Interactive. Three Square Food Bank. (2015) Web. 24 June 2015. http://www.threesquare. org/ by: Julie Ansell