Originally posted Nov. 16, 2010, at Hunger Advocate. Republished with permission of the author.
I just received this in an e-mail from Feeding America:
“Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported that more than 50 million Americans, including more than 17 million children, are food insecure — meaning they lack consistent access to nutritious food.”
“It is a sobering snapshot of the pervasiveness of hunger in our nation.
“This report reflects what we have heard anecdotally from our food banks — people continue to be in need. The new numbers also show that child hunger still remains critically high — nearly 1 in 4 children was at risk of hunger in 2009.
“We know that a lack of adequate nutrition affects a child’s cognitive and behavioral development and is especially damaging for children under the age of 5.”
Wow — one in four! That’s 25 percent of the children in the United States who do not have consistent access to nutritious food. How can this be?
While we are in a financial crisis, (and those who claim we are out of it haven’t been in the pantries, shelters, or my office when the phone rings constantly with people seeking assistance) we are still a wealthy nation.
Yes, our wealth has been put in perspective, as I think as our heads got bigger, we envisioned that our wallets and credit lines did as well. But we still have been blessed beyond belief.
And we are also a people who share. If there is a direct need and it is communicated, folks pay attention.
Food and clothing drives are often hugely successful (if the bags the local Boy Scouts troop just brought in for us to create emergency food bags for those without access to stoves, etc. are any indication), monetary collections often exceed our expectations.
But now one in four of the children in our country are food insecure! One in four!
Our work, my friends, isn’t over — in fact, I believe we are just getting started. We must raise our voices, our hands, our hearts and our prayers to stir up compassion, generosity, vision and justice so that people in our country and the world don’t have to face hunger, a pandemic that is able to be eliminated.
Now is the time. It can’t wait. Be a voice. Write your elected officials. Be a hand. Offer assistant — whether in-kind or monetary. Be a pray-er. Pray that God would enable this world to live into the abundance we have been blessed with and that we would work together so that equitable distribution systems are put in place.
One in four is a number that should not exist. One in four is a number that should keep us awake at night. One in four. Let’s make that read zero in four tomorrow.
Find a link to Kim Conway’s blog Hunger Advocate at Lutheran Blogs.