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: Year-long Education, Support Needed to End Hunger in America

Year-long Education, Support Needed to End Hunger in America

Managing Editor

Hunger in America is a real problem that has only become more profound as the gap widens between those who have the greatest means and those on the other end of the spectrum. This isn't a new fact. Poverty and hunger are examples of social injustice that have become topics of conversation among everyone from casual acquaintances to politicians. But it's easy to put the topic on the shelf and ignore it because it doesn't affect you, your family, or anyone you know. It happens in other parts of the world. It happens anywhere but here.

But we also know that's not true. The state of Maryland is the wealthiest state in the country. In 2012, the median household income in Maryland was $71,122, making in the only state with a median income to exceed $70,000. Moreover, nearly 11 percent of households in Maryland earned more than $200,000 in 2012. For those of us who live here, this isn't all that surprising. And still, one out of every eight residents of the state of Maryland battles food insecurity. The USDA defines a "food insecure" household in the U.S. as one that is " uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food" at times during the year."  

September is Hunger Action Month. All month long, Feeding America, which is the sponsor of the month-long awareness event, has been working to educate the public about the problem of Hunger in the country. But one month of attention to this issue is not enough. These efforts need to continue all year. With continuous attention and education, a real difference can be made.

For example, Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative to "fight hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland," recently released a report showing progress toward addressing the issue of hunger in the state. In the five years since the Food Research and Action Committee established Maryland Hunger Solutions, the state has seen:

  • Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps) increase by 118 percent, from 342,095 in October 2007 to 747,316 in October 2012
  • Tens of thousands of people in the state receive information about eligibility for food assistance programs, including information about the application process and how to make the best use out of supplements
  • An increase in daily participation in the School Breakfast Program among low-income children in the state by more than 45 percent, from 90,815 in the 2007-2008 school year to 132,336 in the 2011-2012

So just because we're coming to the end of September and thus the end of Hunger Action Month, remember that fighting to end hunger is something we should be concerned with all year round at the local, state, and national levels. With dedicated resources and effective communication about this topic, we can affect real change. Let's keep the conversation going!

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