Prepping And Food Insecurity: 1 in 6 Americans Go To Bed Hungry

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Do a search for images of malnutrition on any search engine and you will most likely come up with pictures of wide-eyed, big-bellied babies from some part  of the developing world.

Rarely will you see a child from California, Sydney or London in those images, yet increasingly there are people in the first world suffering from malnutrition. They may not be suffering to the same extent as their African counterparts but inadequate food intake leads to starvation wherever you happen to live, and ultimately the outcome will be the same.

Malnutrition is rising alarmingly in the United States. In real terms workers wages are going down, it’s becoming more and more difficult to put food on the table. For many, particularly the low paid this means two things: fuel and food poverty.

For many years those on low salaries have struggled with ever rising utility bills, domestic gas and electric have soared in price in recent years and now experts are warning that food poverty is increasing. People are feeling the squeeze as the costs of feeding their families and heating their homes continues to rise.

Charities are reporting a massive increase in those using food banks, even in seemingly more affluent neighbourhoods and a growing number of teachers report they provide food for hungry children during school hours.

Malnutrition is often called ‘Hidden Hunger’  a term that refers to people who were not underweight but are deficient in vitamins and minerals.

Hidden hunger was affecting more than 2 billion people worldwide in 2014 and it’s likely that number has risen over the last two years.

Here is a list of some of the common deficiencies that occur in malnourished individuals:

Looking for weight loss as a guide to if someone is malnourished is something that many in the medical profession still do…and it annoys me enormously. It is perfectly possible, and indeed common, to see very chubby, apparently healthy children, who are, in fact, malnourished. Many filling and cheap foods are very high in calories so weight gain, rather than weight loss is common but sadly those foods are more often than not devoid of essential vitamins and minerals.

It’s possible to get dirt cheap snack foods that will fill the kids up, but not contribute one iota to their nutrition. I can see how this happens, strapped for cash, with hungry kids the first aim of most parents would be to make sure that they don’t go to bed hungry.

People are getting more and more desperate, and that desperation will cause more and more people to pilfer from food stores. This in turn will cause an even faster rise in prices as the companies involved attempt to recoup their loses, causing a vicious downward spiral amongst those that can least afford it.

Hunger as we commonly know it affects 805 million people on the planet on a daily basis and sadly true hunger is also rearing it’s head in America. The following is taken from dosomething.org:

  • 1 in 6 people in America face hunger.
  • The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members.
  • In 2011, households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children: 20.6% vs. 12.2%.
  • Food insecurity exists in every county in America.
  • In 2013, 17.5 million households were food insecure.
  • More and more people are relying on food banks and pantries.
  • 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.
  • In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.
  • More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger.
  • Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.
  • Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day.
  • Less than half of them get breakfast, and only 10% have access to summer meal sites.
  • For every 100 school lunch programs, there are only 87 breakfast sites and just 36 summer food programs.
  • 1 in 7 people are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly half of them are children.
  • 40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.
  • These 8 states have statistically higher food insecurity rates than the US national average (14.6%): Arkansas (21.2%), Mississippi (21.1%), Texas (18.0%), Tennessee (17.4%), North Carolina (17.3%), Missouri (16.9%), Georgia (16.6%), Ohio (16.0%).

Sources

It’s shocking that so many people in an affluent country go to sleep each night feeling the pain of hunger. Maybe the politicians should be looking at the statistics of what’s going on at home before handing out tens of millions of dollars in food aid to other countries each year.

With the possibility of a financial crash that would make 2008 look like a children party there has never been a better time to make sure you have enough food in the pantry to keep your family going through a crisis. If you are new to the concept you may was to read Starting Your Preparedness Journey for a few pointers on where to begin.

Preparing for the future is a form of insurance that we can all afford. At it’s most basic it just involves buying a little extra each week, it really is as simple as that.

Other prepper related articles you may be interested in are listed here for your convenience:

Take Care

Liz

5 thoughts on “Prepping And Food Insecurity: 1 in 6 Americans Go To Bed Hungry”

  1. I think one of the reasons we have so many entitlement programs is that the government is building a control base. Later it may come to a matter of if you want to eat move into our camps or come in for your vaccination (which by the way will make you sterile as well) or so on.
    Another reason is the buracrat’s jobs are dependent on the number of people on the rolls. Of course the loss of pride in caring for one’s self has been building for generations so people complain when they are pushed into training or jobs that are “beneath them”.
    Henry Kissinger is quoted as saying ” If you control oil you control nations but if you control food you control people”. Those who want to continue living on the public dole do not realize that they are on the road to giving up all freedom.
    I agree about teaching people to raise food for themselves is far better than just sending food. The teacher I had for my aquiculture training spent a period of time in Africa teaching how to raise fish. He was working for the US State Department. He also told us they had to put armed guards on the fish ponds.

    1. Hi Howard,

      Yup, and Kissinger was on the nail when he said that. I totally agree with you

      Take care

      Liz

  2. Liz

    Six years ago I worked for our local electricity provider and ended up speaking to caller after caller about the inability to pay their bill. The stories were pretty much the same. They didn’t have enough income to pay for their electricity, other utilities, housing, food etc. I was there to create a payment plan that they could afford. It was depressing as it went on for months on end. I can’t tell you how many were crying throughout the calls.

    With the fast food chains offering “food” at incredibly cheap prices, reliance on prepared frozen food, I find that many people don’t actually know how to cook from scratch anymore.

    I understand that schools no longer teach home economics so kids aren’t getting the simple skills needed to take care of themselves. So factory “food” becomes the norm.

    I’ve also seen parents at the grocery store, feeding their kids muffins, cupcakes, anything that comes in a pack and then tossing the empty container before paying for the items in the carts. Now I’m seeing less of this as the grocery store set up a basket of fresh fruit for the children free of charge.

    It’s a small step towards helping feed children but I fear the solution to ending hunger is not as simple as one might think.

    kk

    1. Hiya KK,
      I get exactly where you are coming from, we also have big stores giving free fruit to kids, they market it as encouraging healthy eating but it’s to stop shop lifting.

      I think in some ways the problem is quite simple to solve…for people who are willing to listen, but on the whole you’re right, it needs a multi-faceted solution and I don’t think anyone is up to the job.

      Politicians stick their head in the sand and won’t admit this could be happening in their country though I think it would be too easy and is too easy for everyone to blame them for every ill and this is from someone who loathes politicians!

      I got panned a while ago for saying food aid to Africa should be stopped. People, particularly those who knew from articles and other sources that I go to Africa a lot and I have commented on the pure abject poverty I have seen there.

      Another group praised me, the “yeah keep the money at home” lot.

      Both were wrong in my opinion. Yes we need to stop sending food because getting people to stand and wait for their bag of rice and tub of dried milk is NEVER going to solve the problems.

      We need to provide aid that empowers people. Manual tools and seeds and teaching how to improve the soil empowers people to provide for themselves, they are gifts that keep on giving.

      The same could be said at home. I have a friend, three children, husband walked out. Her youngest is almost 12. Our laws say that when a kid is in full time school you get a job or benefits are cut, if that would cause hunger they make you travel to a job centre daily during the week and do courses, sit there wasting time or whatever. She is livid that she has to do this. So entrenched is she in the handout mentality she really thinks she is different and shouldn’t have to work.

      We have talked to her, told her, explained to her, and she’s an intelligent woman but still she whines about the hours she wastes each week going to the job centre.

      Now I don’t work other than online and she throws this at me constantly, BUT my husband works and therefore I get not a single penny from the state. If I worked and he didn’t the situation would be the same. It’s the way it is. If we split up for any reason I would still not get a fraction of what she gets…joint mortgage, he can pay, joint bills, he can pay…if he didn’t tough…get a job.

      Handing out cash hand over fist breeds the mentality my friend is exhibiting and it’s wrong. It’s not empowering, it’s not encouraging people to stand on their own feet and it is getting to the point where countries will go bankrupt due to the entitlements bills they have to pay out…so they hike taxes for those that do work!!! So very wrong.

      Sorry, having a rant.

      I spend 12-15 hours a day online, I write an article for someone, a well known name who will make $100’s off it in advertising revenue as people read their site, read articles with their name on them that I have written and I will get less than $20. But I earned it, it’s my money. I make a pittance in revenue from this site because I am not a ‘name’ but it’s my pittance and I’m proud of it, and if I write enough, for long enough and people keep coming back my pittance will increase.

      It’s a pride thing isn’t it? Sadly that’s lacking in many people these days.

      Writing and earning a few pennies empowers me to carry on. I have chosen a route that pays way less than stacking shelves would but it gives me the freedom to be at home when my child gets up, to prepare a decent meal everyday, to grow my veggie bits, it suits me but if I want more then something has to be sacrificed to accommodate working outside of my lounge. It’s a choice, life is full of them.

      Sorry that was so rambling and seems to be off topic but the fact is the jobs are there but you’ve got to want to do them. So many people in the UK smoke, drink, have the latest phones and are dripping in cheap but real gold jewellery but at the same time are moaning they can’t feed their kids!!! Of course they can. Speaking for life in the UK we don’t know real poverty because there are things we can do to make sure the kids get fed.

      Abject poverty where you are born in a dirt floor shack with no utilities and will die in a dirt floor shack with no utilities isn’t something British so-called poor could ever understand because they are not poverty stricken, the government will give them money.

      I rest my case.

      Take care

      Liz

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