Monday, September 5, 2011

Too many of us—especially children—go hungry everyday

For 25 years, activists have carried the load to teach us what it means to be hungry. September is Hunger Action Month, and I believe we all should do just that—take action against hunger.

DeKalb County has a 16.7 percent Food Insecurity Rate, which refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants don’t live in hunger or fear of starvation. That’s closing in on one in five families. Of the schools in my district, the percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program is as high as 96 percent. Without economic recovery, those numbers will soar even higher.

Yet, even food stamps are often not enough for families to meet their basic nutritional needs. Several years ago, I accepted a challenge from the Atlanta Food Bank to live off the amount I would have qualified for in food stamps for a week. I spent seven days trying to figure out the trick to living off that. There is no trick, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I came to a new understanding of what the poor in our country deal with day after day and what I discovered is alarming. Sure, I could buy the cheapest food in the store, but those products wouldn’t have done me much good. Too much of that kind of food is over-processed and comes in a box. When you look at the labels, it’s clear that it’s full of empty calories, which can lead to obesity and other health problems. I found that fresh fruits and vegetables were simply out of my reach. Forget about good sources of protein.

Together, we can keep decent food on the tables of the most-in-need. Please get in touch with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which taught me so much, or Hosea Feed the Hungry & Homeless, which has taught all of DeKalb County so much.

No comments:

Post a Comment