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Let’s Ask the Real Experts About Hunger in America
Many people who struggle to put food on their tables have difficulty accessing fresh and healthy food, like these vegetables for sale last summer at the Abingdon Farmer's Market in Abingdon, VA. Photo credit: Laura Elizabeth Pohl.
Many of us have learned during this recession — if we didn’t know before — that often you can’t tell just by looking which of your friends and neighbors might be struggling to get enough to eat. Similarly, people who have never had to worry about running out of food might be surprised at what hungry people have to say on the matter.
The people who best understand hunger and all that goes along with it are the people who are forced to deal with it up close and personal – particularly women who are struggling in difficult circumstances to protect their children’s health and emotional well-being. A clearer understanding of the root causes of hunger starts with seeking the opinions of people who are often overlooked or seen only as “recipients” of the federal nutrition programs that groups like Bread defend.
Bread for the World Institute’s 2012 Hunger Report, Rebalancing Act: Updating U.S. Food and Farm Policies, is informed by insights and feedback from low-income volunteers in programs such as Philadelphia’s Witnesses to Hunger. Witnesses, a research project developed by Children's HealthWatch, began by putting cameras in the hands of women living in poverty and asking them to photograph images that mean “hunger” to them and their families.
Witnesses director Dr. Mariana Chilton of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexell University, and Tianna Gaines-Turner, one of many well-informed and articulate Witnesses living in poor neighborhoods of Philadelphia, will attend the launch of this year’s Hunger Report this coming Monday, November 21. Gaines-Turner will be taking the day off from her jobs – she works a combination of three to make ends meet for herself, her husband, and their children.
The Hunger Report looks at programs that help low-income families pay for necessities — programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and explains why they must be maintained and strengthened. When their parents’ hard work doesn’t pay for everything they need, children from the Witnesses families and others like them must be able to look to their government – ultimately to their fellow Americans -- for help.
+The 2012 Hunger Report will be released at www.hungerreport.org on Monday, Nov. 21.
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