Just what we throw out as garbage would feed half of the hungry population in our country. Approximately 40% of our food is thrown out in the United States every year. The food we throw away is worth $165 billion.
In 2014, 61 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) -- in the prior month.
Feeding America provides food assistance to an estimated 46.5 million people annually, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. Based on annual income, 72 percent of all Feeding America client households live at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
Among all Feeding America client households, 55 percent report receiving SNAP benefits.[x] Nearly one-quarter (24%) of Feeding America client households with children under the age of 18 report receiving benefits through WIC.
Nearly all Feeding America client households with school-aged children (94%) receive free or reduced-price school lunch through the National School Lunch Program, whereas less than half of the same population (46%) participate in the School Breakfast Program’s free or reduced-price breakfasts.
We all know and are in contact with people affected by hunger, even though we might not be aware of it.
Poverty is forcing millions of Americans into a hunger crisis. Their hunger emergency is defined by food insecurity, which is the lack of access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Families find themselves buying cheaper and less nutritious food, or cutting entire meals out of their diet, just to make ends meet. Increasing over time, this pattern leads to chronic malnutrition, affecting children and families in profoundly destructive ways.
Hunger plays a pivotal role in perpetuating the cycle of poverty in the U.S., weakening families and systemically impairing the country's collective ability to reach its full potential. Hungry children are not able to play, engage, and learn like other children, and are therefore less likely to become productive adults. Compromised health can lead to both short- and long-term problems; children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.