Sometimes it's easy to think of hunger as a global problem. The hunger crisis affects places like the Horn of Africa, not our own neighbors, but in fact, the opposite is true.
The other day I was walking my dog and saw a group of elementary school children walking home. I couldn't help but wonder which of them would go to bed hungry, because 1 in 5 children in America do. We have plenty of food, but it's not accessible to everyone. On April 14th, the Food Network documentary Hunger Hits Home, followed three families trying to make ends meet.
Here are a few of the takeaways from the April 14th premiere:
- "Hunger is a political condition. We have the food. We have the programs. We have everything but the political will to end it. We're the United States of America, the richest country on the planet and not a single community is hunger free. We should be ashamed." -Rep Jim McGovern, MA (D)
- Childhood hunger exists in every community in America, and more than 16 million children struggle with hunger. That's more than the populations of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia combined.
- "It's important to see ending childhood hunger as a national security issue, education and economic competitiveness issue. There's a lot at stake for our country." -Bill Shore, President, Share Our Strength
- For one family living in New York, it's a 45 minute subway ride to find healthy food. Across New York City, many families find themselves in the same trap.
- 11 million children aren't eating breakfast who qualify for these meals. The good news is that change makers are in our communities right now. The principal at one school championed a Breakfast in the Classroom program, ensuring that children who qualify for free meals are accessing them every morning in the classroom. The school has seen positive changes in the children who eat breakfast, noting improved academic performance and reduced instances of visiting the nurse.