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Washington, D.C., September 9, 2015 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 14 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2014. This number is slowly declining, but remains well above the rates of food insecurity recorded before the Great Recession. The figures are part of the USDA’s annual report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2014.
“It is time to make ending hunger a national priority,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “It is unacceptable that more than 17 million households in this country are struggling to put food on the table. We live in the most blessed country in the world, yet far too many people are at risk of hunger.”
The USDA defines food insecurity as “when consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”
Rates of food insecurity are higher than the national average for households with children, single parent households, black and Hispanic households, and low-income households, namely those with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty threshold. The threat to children is especially high – 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2014.
Nearly 1 million children lived in households in which “children were hungry, skipped a meal, or did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food,” according to the USDA report. Studies show that children who are hungry and at risk of hunger are more likely to struggle in school and have an increased risk for illnesses and weakened immune systems.
Through Bread for the World’s 2015 Offering of Letters campaign, thousands of churches representing nearly 50 diverse Christian denominations throughout the U.S. have urged Congress to strengthen national child nutrition programs. The law governing these programs expires September 30.
“Congress must pass a child nutrition bill that protects individuals and families who are struggling with hunger,” Mitchell said. “We are making progress in combating food insecurity through vital programs such as SNAP, WIC, and school lunches. However, much more needs to be done to connect children at risk of hunger with the meals they need to learn and grow.”
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.