Hungry America: How to Help Food-Insecure Americans


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WE DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT POVERTY AND HUNGER IN AMERICA, but they are interrelated topics we can’t afford to ignore any longer: as of 2009, 43.6 million Americans now live in poverty. And as many as 49.1 million people lived in food insecure households—that’s 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children, according to the USDA.

“Food insecurity” is defined as limited or uncertain access to nutritious, safe foods.

For families living below the federal poverty level ($22,050 a year for a family of four in 2009), not having enough cash for food is a daily reality. This leads to skipped meals or buying cheap, unhealthy food. Low income communities are more likely to live in food deserts, where access to healthy, affordable food choices is limited.

Learn more

Search this interactive map by The Half-in-Ten Campaign to see the number of people living in poverty for each state by congressional district, race, gender, and age.

A new report from the National Center for Children in Poverty explores child food insecurity in the U.S. and includes a discussion of public policy approaches to relieve food insecurity.

Donate or Volunteer

Find a food bank closest to you through these national organizations: Share our Strength; Feeding America.

You can also find a highly-rated food bank in your city or state through Charity Navigator by searching “food” or “hunger” to get results for your community.

Follow food policy in Congress

Food policy entered this fall’s election conversation when Newt Gingrich decided to attack food stamps. This follows arguments over the Child Nutrition Bill, which stalled in Congress when it was proposed that food stamp funding be used to pay for it. The vote has now been moved to the “lame duck” session in November. Visit the Food Research and Action Center to find out how to advocate for legislation.

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