Developing strategies to end hunger

Today: Ending Hunger in America Released

Photo for 2014 launch

Millions of older Americans struggle to put food on the table. Photo: Lindsay Benson Garrett/Meals on Wheels.

Today, Bread for the World Institute is pleased to announce the release of Ending Hunger in America, our 2014 Hunger Report. 

The report offers a clear, achievable four-step plan to make hunger a rare and temporary phenomenon, rather than the widely-shared national experience it is today.

With an economy still faltering as we enter 2014, nearly five years after the Great Recession technically ended, it would be all too easy to accept as a new normal the idea that tens of millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. But our country has the knowledge and resources not only to reverse the ground lost since 2007, but to make rapid progress toward a hunger-free society.

The president should set a goal to end hunger in America and work with Congress to develop a plan to achieve the goal within 10-15 years.

A plan to end hunger should include

  • a jobs agenda
  • a stronger safety net
  • human capital development
  • public-private partnerships to support community anti-hunger initiatives

In 2000, the last time the United States had full employment, the household food insecurity rate was 10.5 percent. In 2012, it had surged to 14.5 percent. That translates into a 28 percent increase, in just 12 years, in Americans who struggle to put food on the table.

This also means, however, that a strong economic recovery capped by a return to full employment would improve U.S. food security levels by at least 25 percent. And full employment by 2017 is possible if Congress puts partisan politics aside and agrees on the necessary investments to spur faster job growth.

This is the world’s wealthiest country, and most of us are compassionate, fair-minded people. We should support each other through life’s ups and downs and prepare our children to earn a decent living. Sustainable reductions in hunger on the order of 50 percent or more will depend on strengthening the safety net and investing in human capital.  

To end hunger altogether, we must also confront knottier social issues, such as racism and other forms of discrimination that drive too many people to the margins of society. The United States, like many other countries, has its own group of ultra-poor people, including more than a million households with children that have incomes below $2 a person a day.

Ending hunger in the United States will require leadership not only at the federal level but also at the state and local levels. There are countless examples of locally-led initiatives that are achieving great success in their communities.

The United States has a track record of making rapid improvments in the economic well-being of our people. If we decided to make ending hunger a priority, we could wake up in 2030 and think of the hard times of 2013-2014 -- with, for example, 48 million low-income Americans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP -- formerly food stamps) -- as a bad dream.

To learn more, read Ending Hunger in America, released today in print version and available at the Hunger Report website.  



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