For mom’s like Laqueeta providing for their children is their single most important job. Not being able to provide the basic necessaries of food, water, and shelter is a REAL dilemma many families face in the United States of America. According to Feeding America’s Children, 16 million American children struggle with hunger (2018). In Arizona specifically, 1 in 4 children; 1 in 5 adults; and 1 in 7 seniors struggle with hunger (Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank, 2018).
Arizona is tied for 5th worst state in the United States for food insecurity. In Maricopa County more than 623,300 (16.5%) people live in poverty and 26% of those living in poverty are children (Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank, 2018).
The topic of HUNGER is important to me because as a Nurse, African American Female, Sister, and Friend I have seen first hand the effects of hunger on the care I am able to provide to my patients. I was born in Nairobi Kenya and my deep African roots have seen first hand extreme poverty and the affects it has on communities. This topic also became relevant to me during a clinical rotation in rural Show Low, Arizona. I saw first hand how poverty and insufficient food affect children’s health.
The Arizona Hunger Advisory Council published the “Arizonans Preventing Hunger Action 2017” In this document the counsel lays out 9 strategies to increase food security. These nine strategies are presented under 3 main topics:
- INCREASE ECONOMIC SECURITY FOR PEOPLE, COMMUNITIES,
AND THE STATE OF ARIZONA
- CULTIVATE A STRONG REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM
- MAXIMIZE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ARIZONA’S FOOD ASSISTANCE SAFETY NET (Department of Economic Security, 2017)
The Arizona Advisory Counsel of the Department of Economic Security is working on these strategies to help decrease the hunger statisitics in Arizona. As we delve moreinto this topic I will discuss more concerns surrounding hunger and share the amazing work that is being done in Arizona. Keep reading I promise you will be hungry for more stories.
Beechnut. (2018, September 12). #RealFoodForChange: Help Us End Child Hunger [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilwl4aZ23fA
Department of Economic Security. (2017). Arizonans preventing hunger action plan 2017. Retrieved from Department of Economic Security website: https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/media/Arizonans-Preventing-Hunger-Action-Plan-July-2017.pdf
Fast Casual. (2015). Ending Child Hunger [web image]. Retrieved from https://www.fastcasual.com/articles/restaurants-working-toward-ending-child-hunger/
Feeding America’s Children. (2018). Why Food Rescue?. Retrieved from https://www.feedingac.org/why-food-rescue/
Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank. (2018). Hunger Statistics. Retrieved from https://matthewscrossing.org/hunger_statistics
4 thoughts on “The Hunger Story”
This is a topic that I also feel very strongly about, and I look forward to following your posts. In the United States (U.S.), there is no reason for anyone to go hungry. The U.S. has enough food to provide for every citizen and them some (Feeding America, 2018).
I used to work at a grocery store and saw first-hand the amount of food that was thrown away due to packaging damages and “sell by” dates being reached. Every time I witnessed or partook in the trashing of perfectly consumable food, I thought to myself, what an incredible waste and an incredible injustice. I wondered and still wonder why all of the unsellable but consumable food from grocery stores and restaurants is not being donated to those in need. Is there just no system in place for facilitating this, or are there other motivations for not donating food, such as financial greed in our market economy?
Two hundred and eighteen billion dollars’ worth of food, almost half of the food that is produced, is thrown away every year, and 40% of that food waste comes from consumer businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants (Feeding America, 2018). From what I can see, there is such a practical solution to ending food insecurity and childhood hunger by ending food waste. What facilitators and barriers are present in Arizona, to creating a solution of simply reallocating food rather than throwing it away? Feeding America (2018) has been involved in efforts to prevent food waste and feed individuals and families in need across the U.S. Are there any such efforts already happening in Arizona?
Feeding America. (2018). Fighting food waste with food rescue. Retrieved from https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/our-approach/reduce-food-waste
Thank you for your post, I really enjoyed reading it. I appreciate you giving your perspective on the hunger in communities that you witnessed first hand in the US and in Kenya. I agree with you, that as humans, and especially parents, feeding our children is the most important job. Aside from the physical consequences of hunger, the emotional/mental consequences can be great as well. I am a PMHNP, and one particular patient I worked with was extremely food insecure throughout her childhood. Now as an adult, she is no longer food insecure, but struggles with depression, anxiety, and OCD symptoms that are the result of her chronic insecurity as a child. I feel this story gives a good example of the life long and diverse effects that food insecurity can have on individuals. Thank you for addressing this critical topic, I look forward to reading more of your posts!
Thank you for introducing this important problem. What are some of the specific steps or programs that the Arizona Advisory Council of DES has taken to address childhood hunger in Arizona?
Great question. The specific programs are: The Emergency Assistance Food Program, The Coordinated Hunger Relief Program, and The Restaurant Meals Program. All of these programs and resources are assisting in ending child hunger.
A good website for these programs is: https://des.az.gov/services/basic-needs/food/coordinated-hunger-relief-program