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Give Me Your Tired Your Poor

Give me your tired, your poor...

Give me your tired, your poor… (Photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer)

Do you know any poor, hungry children?

A friend recently posted a film exposing the hunger problem here in the USA. It surprised me, that I’ve become so isolated from what must be large sections of the United States where hunger is a problem. See the excerpt here:

A Place At The Table

The film makes the point that in America we don’t think a child is severely hungry unless he or she looks like a skin-and-bones sub-Saharan sufferer. But all body types can qualify. In fact, as Raj Patel, the author of “Stuffed & Starved,” says, hunger and obesity, so often founded on cheap carbohydrates, are closely linked. “They are both signs of insufficient foods you need to be healthy.”

Many in our country will counter that the poor are hungry because they don’t know how to manage their lives. One such writer is Paul Roderick Gregory writing from the “front lines” for Forbes Magazine.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2013/06/09/poverty-and-hunger-in-america-a-letter-from-the-front-line/

What are the real statistics? Who cares?

Here’s what I found from a reliable US source: http://www.bread.org/

Hunger and Poverty Facts

Heather Rude-Turner depends on EITC (earned income tax credit) to help support her family

Hunger

  • 14.5 percent of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table. More than 48 million Americans—including 16.2 million children—live in these households.
    Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011. (Table 1A, Table 1B)  
  • More than one in five children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, nearly one in three children is at risk of hunger.
    Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011. (Table 1B, Table 3).

Child Nutrition

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)

Food Spending

  • Low-income households already spend a greater share of their income on food. Food accounts for 16.4 percent of spending for households making less than $10,000 per year compared to the U.S. average of 12.7 percent.
    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2006.

Obesity/Nutrition

  • Participation in federal nutrition programs reduces the risk of girls becoming overweight by increasing access to an adequate, nutritious diet. School-aged girls enrolled in SNAP, school lunch, and school breakfast programs are 68 percent less likely to be overweight than food-insecure girls who do not participate in the programs.
    Source: Lower Risk of Overweight in School-aged Food-Insecure Girls Who Participate in Food Assistance. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vul. 157, No. 8, pp. 780-784, August 2003.

Poverty

More than one in seven people in the United States lives below the poverty line, which is $22,113 for a family of four in 2010. More than one in five children in the United States lives below the poverty line. Source: 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplements from the Current Population Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2011. 

  • Most Americans (51.4 percent) will live in poverty at some point before age 65.
    Source: Urban Institute, Transitioning In and Out of Poverty, 2007. 
  • 65 percent of low-income families have at least one working family member, and 79 percent of single mothers who head households work.
    Source: Income, Earnings, and Poverty data from the 2010 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2011. 
  • In most areas, a family of four needs to earn twice the poverty line to provide children with basic necessities.
    Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, Budgeting for Basic Needs, March 2009.  
  • Nationally, more than 44 percent of children live in low-income working families (families who earn less than twice the poverty line).
    Source: Income, Earnings, and Poverty data from the 2010 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2011.
  • A person working full-time at the minimum wage earns about $14,500 a year. The official poverty line for a family of three—one parent with two children—is $17,568.

Further Reading

Spotlight: Hunger and Poverty among African Americans

Did you know? One in four African-Americans lives below the federal poverty line, compared to about one in eight Americans overall.

As I was growing up, I seldom had fresh produce except what was in season from our garden in the summer. We ate a very basic diet consisting of canned and packaged foods bought once a month at a grocery store seven miles away. Our luxuries were beef, chicken, and tuna fish, never fresh fish. The vegetables we ate were carrots, potatoes and cabbage and green beans all very well cooked English and German style, seasoned only with salt and pepper. Our treats were baked bread, pies and other sweets.

To this day, I fight my craving for carbs and obesity haunts my body as it did my mom’s and many in her family. Thanks in part to our having access to fresh produce in grocery stores (a modern lifestyle) we eat very differently than mom and I did back in the 50’s and 60’s. However, mom read the latest nutritional findings and did the best she could. Health standards have changed a lot since I was a child.

I just wish that people making the decisions in Washington would step out of their imaginary” front lines” and visit the areas where people claim to be hungry. Give these families an afternoon of their time, and listen for their hungry bellies growling. Maybe it is all “manufactured”…but what if it isn’t?

*

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/201371892231367525.html

2 Responses

  1. hey mom, when did you change your blog name? I like “currents of joy”.

    BTW there is breakfast for free at Wills’ school and free school lunches for any children that qualify. Thanks for posting about the hunger problem right here.

    love ya! Juls

    • Thank you for reading! I heard about the big child trafficking bust yesterday on the DC news and was thinking, now how did I know about this already? Cool to know an “insider” on such an important c
      News story!

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