As the holiday season approaches, specifically Thanksgiving, many people take stock in what they have. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS- USDA) releases a study each year that in 2008 showed that 1 in 6 Americans are food insecure, and more alarming is that 1 in 4 children live in a food insecure household.
While food insecurity might sound like an eating disorder, it is actually the state of not having enough to eat or not knowing where your next meal will come from.
Who is food insecure? With numbers that high, food insecurity is not confined to the homeless or unemployed. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days. Real-life stories like that of Atlanta-resident Shonda show that sudden cut-backs and lay-offs can easily send a thriving family into poverty.
The report also shows that nearly 34% of food insecure households are African-American and nearly 20% are Hispanic. An estimated 35% of those households are headed by a single parent with children under the age of 18.
Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief charity, works with food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens across the country to supply them with the tools they need to combat hunger in their community. In Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank distributes more than 2 million pounds of groceries a month to families in need through more than 700 charitable organizations.
In addition to taking food and cash donations, the ACFB hosts several events a month from which proceeds go to supplies for Atlanta’s hungry. With cooking demonstrations, celebrity charity dinners, concerts and more, it’s very easy to end hunger in your community. In the state of Georgia alone, 14% of households and 23% of children are food insecure. America is supposed to be the “land of plenty,” so why do so many children go to bed hungry?
What can you do to help? Contributing your time or donating your cash is a great way to start putting a dent in Atlanta’s food insecurity. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, taking your entire family to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to assist would be a great way to “pay it forward” and really exemplify what the season of giving is all about.