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A Hungry America

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Switch to any channel in American TV. Surf for a few minutes. You will see a lot of people telling stories, from anchors delivering breaking news to actors making stories come to life on the small screen. Now turn off the TV and ask yourself: did you see anyone at all who looked hungry to the point of starvation?

Most probably not.

Image Source: Victoria Kelley

Hunger is an issue we do not talk about much in America. Most of us believe that hunger is a problem that exists only in third world countries in Africa or in Asia. Some of us actually believe that nobody here is at risk of starving to death.

We couldn’t be more wrong.

Marian Wright Edelmann, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, writing for the Huffington Post, tells the story of how America had inevitably staved off hunger problems by slowly working with politicians to work on feeding our people. President Nixon even gave a speech saying that hunger has no place in a rich land like ours. Initiatives like these established the foundations for today’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps) and the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program.

SNAP and WIC have proven to be essential lifelines for many people that have difficulty earning enough money to gain access to proper nutrition. They have become especially vital in today’s economically troubled times, when many working-class families find themselves jobless or underemployed. Six million – one in 50 Americans – depend on these nutritional programs to feed themselves and their families.

There is another bit of good news, though: American voters are overwhelmingly opposed to cutting food stamp assistance to balance out the government’s books. “American voters won’t tolerate hunger in our midst, and across party lines they support this valuable program,” says Food Research and Action Council president Jim Weill.

We all have to make sure that politicians hear that message loud and clear.

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About Yan Susanto

  • The success of these anti-poverty programs is certainly open for debate. Even for those who do receive assistance, the amount was far less than the minimum they’d need to to stave off hardship.


  • Igor

    How sad that we have to look back to Nixon to find a republican concerned about hunger in America.