Millions of Americans continue to struggle to feed their families.
By Brendan Rice


World Food Day is about raising awareness and initiating actions to end hunger both in the United States and abroad. Even in the United States where resources are abundant, many people go without enough to eat. Food insecure households are those that struggle to put food on the table at some point during the year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that 14.9 percent of American households - nearly 18 million American households - suffered from food insecurity in 2011.

In the United States, infrastructure is in place so that there is constant, year-round availability of food, so why do so many go hungry in such a wealthy nation? The issue boils down to a lack access to food due to poverty, which leads to hunger. In addition, food deserts are all too common, making access to nutritious food even more difficult for large segments of the population.

Hunger in the United States disproportionately affects children. Childhood hunger hampers a young person's ability to learn, which creates a cycle of poverty. 20.6% of American families with children struggled to put food on the table in 2011. In addition to children, certain groups experience food insecurity at rates higher than those of other Americans. According to USDA data, the rate of child and household food insecurity among African-Americans and Hispanics is dramatically higher than that of whites.

Fortunately, safety nets in the form of federal programs improve the situation of hunger in the U.S. SNAP (previously known as food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch Program, and several other nutrition programs play an important role in addressing hunger in the United States, yet many Americans are at risk of falling through the cracks.

Federal Nutrition Programs go a long way, but it takes citizens such as you to make a difference. Nearly eight million households with children in the United States are food insecure. What can you do to make sure no child in our country goes hungry? This World Food Day, learn more. Make a commitment.

Visit U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guide for helping you to become a champion to end hunger.

Brendan Rice is a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and World Food Day Intern at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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