In 2007, 36.2 million Americans (up from 35.5 million in 2006), including 12.4 million children, are food insecure, or didn’t have the money or assistance to get enough food to maintain active, healthy lives.
Almost a third of those, 11.9 million adults and children, went hungry at some point. That’s 691,000 children who went hungry in 2007, up from 430,000 in 2006. Of those 35.5 million, 22.9 million were adults and 12. 6 million were children.
In 2008 alone, a rise of about 6% in the price of groceries has led the poor to adopt a variety of survival strategies, from buying food that is beyond its expiration date to visiting food banks.
About 25 million people in America receive food stamps — coupons that can be used only for food. The computerized system reveals that most benefits are used up by the third week of the month, leaving many families to scramble for other sources of food.
America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s major food bank network, annually provides food to over 23 million people. That is more than the population of the state of Texas.
The USDA recently found that about 96 billion pounds of food available for human consumption in the United States were thrown away by retailers, restaurants and farmers over the course of one year. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, grain products, and sweeteners accounted for 2/3 of these losses.
Hungry adults miss more work and consume more health care than those who don’t go hungry.
Kids who experience hunger are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other illness.
The total cost of hunger to American society is said to be about $90 billion a year.
In contrast, it would only cost about $10 billion to $12 billion a year to virtually end hunger in our nation.
From 1999 to 2007, the number of people in poverty has increased from 32.3 million to 36.5 million.
United States Department of Agriculture
Bread for the World
America’s Second Harvest
Meals for Millions