Money, Money, Money, Monnneeeyyy!

“Money, money, money, moneyyyyy!” It is true that if you follow the money you know who controls the topic, issue, or cause. In the case of hunger relief, I tried to follow the money and found that the government sections the money intro federal and state money and they divide it further to money for hunger relief and hunger relief for children.  The United States (US) Government The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) : Background and Funding document (2018) states that annually the money used is about 250,000,000-260,000,000 dollars annually.  That seems like a lot of money if we are just talking but compared to how much the US spends on medical services and pharmaceuticals which is estimated to be 350,000,000-450,000,000 dollars. In comparison, it is small and honestly, it makes me furious that we spend so much money on medications alone but not ending hunger and food insecurity.

Feeding America has an amazing chart which highlights the major stakeholders and whom they serve:

On there website you can go in and then click on each group and the link for their website comes up explaining each government/state/private entity:

In terms of sustaining and creating innovation for hunger relief and food insecurity President Obama and his administration created and passed The Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79) also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, was signed into law by President Obama on February 7, 2014.  The 2014 Farm Bill made many important changes to SNAP. Among the retailer related provisions, it required FNS to update the stocking standards used to authorize SNAP retailers and provided additional resources to fight retailer fraud.  It also called for pilot testing the use of mobile devices to redeem SNAP benefits and to pilot test accepting SNAP benefits through online transactions. The pilot programs are creating innovative devices to reach those who are unable to travel for food or to track the communities’ food needs.  The bill authorized $200 million in new funding for up to 10 three-year pilot projects to rigorously evaluate new approaches to move SNAP participants into work or higher paying jobs. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the definition of retailer to include government agencies and not-for-profits that purchase and deliver food to the elderly and/or disabled, thus allowing for testing of home delivery for these vulnerable populations, and allowed agricultural producers who market directly to consumers to accept EBT.  The Farm Bill also authorized Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grants to incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables among SNAP participants at retailers like grocery stores and farmers markets (USDA, 2019).

Food insecurity and hunger relief DESERVE everyone attention and priority! The fact that Maricopa County has the 5th worst rating for children going hunger and not having enough to eat is a disgrace to this place I call home. Stand with me and be an active citizen! Go volunteer with your local food bank. Give your tax deduction donation to help food insecurity. Host a family for a holiday. Get involved with the Youth Changing America movement:

Do whatever you can small or big to help the least of these and always remember you are one decision or accident from being these people as well! Thanks for following me this semester as I discuss this topic. Love and Light, Wairimu.


Congressional Research Service, & Billings, K. C. (2018). The emergency food assistance program (TEFAP): Background and funding (R45408). Retrieved from Congressional Research Service website:

Feeding America. (2018). Federal food assistance programs. Retrieved from Feeding America website:

United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. (2018, September 17). A short history of SNAP. Retrieved from United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website:

United States Department of Agriculture. (2018, April 25). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Retrieved from

Youth Service America. (2014, December 2). 10 Ways to End Hunger. Retrieved April 2, 2019, from

Yu, N., Attberry, P., & Bach, P. (2018, July 31). Spending On Prescription Drugs In The US: Where Does All The Money Go?. Retrieved from


What the AZ Preventing Hunger Action Plan and the Hunger Relief Program is doing in AZ.

Hunger! So how to we know people are hungry simple…Statistics and nosy people! Nosey people meaning the state and federal health departments researching and gathering statistics on individuals and their health pertaining to food resources, income, and surrounding environment and I am personally thankful that we are so nosey because then this information is used to provide people data to help change these negative stats into helpful initiatives to promote change.

Here are some hard facts about childhood hunger in AZ:

I had the opportunity to interview Gloria Garcia-Hernandez who works for the

She is on the AZ Preventing Action Plan board team Arizona Department of Economic Security: Coordinated Hunger Relief Program. She is a member of the AZ Hunger Advisory Counsel:

Her role is to help support the council and the director of the AZ Department of Economic Security in working on initiatives and strategies to help end hunger and food insecurity in Arizona.

Thank You Mrs. Garcia-Hernandez for taking time out of your day to talk and share a little bit about your role and how we can further assist your cause.

  1.  The Action Plan has three core goals and nine strategies what strategy do you feel AZ is excelling in.

We are not doing well on them so we created these to be our goals and due to the team leader of this project being out of office for personal reasons, we did not do much last year. This year we have started working on them again so we will know soon where our strengths and weaknesses are.

  • What are tangible ways Nurse Practitioner’s can engage in this hunger topic?

First, health providers need to routinely ask the screening questions for food insecurity with every assessment. Second, health providers knowing about the food resources and terminology to give to their patients.

DES and Hunger Relief have an interactive map with resources online. This map gives current information on places and times for food pick-ups. This map is updated quarterly.


This is a perfect example of an intersect of using innovation and technology to help this issue of hunger and food insecurity in Arizona. This is a digital map and it is really helpful for users to know about.

  • What are tangible ways the public can be involved?

The public needs to know the difference between food insecurity, food deserts, and hunger. The terms all mean different things and people think of starvation, which is often not the case. It is not people who are starving but its people who do not have the money for fresh produce they can only afford canned foods. We are not talking about people starving. Fastest group is seniors at this time.

  • What message would you like to tell everyone about these topics? Any misconceptions or myths you want to dispel.

A myth is people who are accessing food banks they are chronic abusers of the system its people who need short term relief. On average, a family will use these for 7 months.

  • What resources are there for children? The office of Education they provide the school lunches, back programs, after school program feeding, and summer program funds children. People do not know this but Apache County is the third worst country for child hunger this is because these children live on the Navajo nation and have fewer resources. Maricopa County fifth worst for childhood hunger and that is because it is the largest county with the highest volume.
  • Why did you become involved with the hunger topic?

We do what we do because we want to help people and make a difference. This is one of the most concrete ways to help people.

  • How do you perceive the legislation pertaining to food hunger and any struggles or achievements?

State employees are unable to speak about legislation. The Association of AZ Food Banks they work more on the legislation and policy end. Ashley Saint Thomas works 602-528-3434

Privacy in regards to hunger is complex because people are ashamed that they do not have enough to afford healthy food so its not like people write about it on there Facebook feed: “Hey guys I’m hungry and I don’t have enough food to feed my kids!” I personally have not seen that in my friend group but what I do know is I was hungry in college and thank God, for my school having free food on certain days I would load up on food and survive. I remember buying rice and beans because that was cheap and it made me full. I have come a long way and I was not really starving but it was difficult.

Hunger, food insecurity, food desserts, childhood hunger these are all complex topics with no easy fix but progress is being made. Thanks to Gloria Garcia- Hernandez for the interview.

The Private Sector and Hunger Initiatives

Over 1.2 billion people living in poverty depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Many live in areas hit hard by rapidly deteriorating conditions associated with climate change. Oxfam has joined with Swiss Re and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to create a dynamic public-private-people-partnership we call the Rural Resilience Initiative, or R4—a joint effort to help rural families build resilience against climate-related risk (Offenheiser, 2016).

R4 was launched in 2010 to respond to this growing problem, building on the success of an earlier Oxfam program in Ethiopia. R4 combines Oxfam’s experience with community participation and local savings groups, Swiss Re’s innovative risk transfer solutions, and WFP’s global capacity, to offer four risk management approaches in combination: community risk reduction and natural resource management; livelihoods diversification and microcredit; savings; and micro insurance (Offenheiser, 2016).
This is a good example of the private sector taking initiative to help the hunger problems in this country. The core innovation of R4 is that it provides cash-poor farmers the option to work for their insurance premiums on projects that reduce risk and build climate resilience (Offenheiser, 2016).

R4 Information Graphic

Another program is the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth provided a platform for engagement to occur and to help bridge gaps between fish farming industry growth and sustainability. Similarly, to the New Vision for Agriculture and other cross-sector initiatives and conferences, there is agreement among stakeholders that if farmers, markets, governments and civil society join forces we might be able to maximize seafood yields while protecting our ocean’s biodiversity and generating regional economic growth (Rojas-Ruiz, 2013).

Arizona Food Dessert Map (2016)

In Arizona the Arizonan’s Preventing Hunger Action Plan the state is working towards working with the private sector to help in the farming, agriculture, stores giving their extra food to shelters and food organization. The interim action goals needed to achieve the long-term goals include:

• Increase the number of food hubs statewide.

• Increase the number of incubator farms for training new farmers and ranchers.

• Increase the number of new farmers and ranchers trained in hands-on farming/ ranching (Arizonan’s Preventing Hunger Action Plan, 2017). \


The Arizona Hunger Advisory Council. (2017). Arizonans preventing hunger action plan 2017. Retrieved from The Arizona Hunger Advisory Council website:

Offenheiser, R. (2016). Ending global hunger through private sector, civil society and government collaboration. Retrieved from

Rojas-Ruiz, J. (2014). Aquaculture: Enabling food security, oceanic sustainability and economic growth in the future. Retrieved from

Public Sector on Hunger

In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, hunger remains a serious problem. In 2016, 41.2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households. Food insecurity, defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food, affects every community in the United States (National Conference of State Legislators, 2018). In Arizona the vulnerable population that suffers from hunger and food insecurity is children and homeless individuals. The government and public sector have banded together to create the NCSL Hunger Partnership.

If you are interest check out their website:

This group is comprised of state legislator’s and private companies the 2018-2019 roster includes California Senator: Holly Mitchell and private companies such as Kellogg’s: Tanisha Sanders, Stephanie Slingerland, Tracy Mihas. They also have advisory partners such as Feed America: Carrie Calvert.

I was really impressed that we have taken the initiative to come together from the Government Policy and Private Sector to tackle the issue of Hunger and Food Insecurity in the United States of America.

Another group I was super impressed with located is St. Mary’s Food Bank. One in four children in Arizona will grow up in poverty and St. Mary’s Food Bank is one of the longest running food banks in the United States working towards ending hunger. They have Food Banks in various ares in the State, they have community kitchens, and they have food distribution centers.


The public sector is having an influence on the government policies on hunger and food insecurity. Hopefully they continue to collaborate and improve the state of this issue. I’m hopeful because the alternative is depressing!


National Conference of State Legislators. (n.d.). Hunger Partnership Overview. Retrieved from

New York Times, & Sun, M. (2018). Minju Sun [New York Times Image ]. Retrieved from

St. Mary’s Food Bank. (n.d.). Home – St. Mary’s Food Bank. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Policies in United States of America | Global database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA). Retrieved from

Paradoxes: The History on Hunger

“Escalating global hunger and obesity levels might seem like a gigantic paradox. It is not. It is part of a single global food crisis, with economic, geopolitical, and environmental dimensions. It is perhaps the starkest, most basic way in which global inequality is manifest” (Otter, 2010).

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the development of non-governmental relief organizations that started out targeting specific trouble spots such as food security, food desserts, and supply and demand for healthy food but grew into full-time bureaucracies (Denning, 2009).  

The historical origins of today’s global linkages between food, capital, energy, environment, and technology lie well before the mid-twentieth century. There were important institutional dimensions to this post-World War II shift. The foundation of the UN and the FAO (1945), the idea that the entire world could collectively suffer a “food crisis” (of misdistribution, hunger, and famine) can be said to have been born (Otter, 2010).

Historical institutions on the topic of hunger were first the Church. The church was the first place to help the poor and hungry. Dating back to BC, the poor, ill, and hungry sought refuge at the church. As we transitioned into hunger being brought into government institutions the US was critical in providing government aid during World War II. The US military and government took it upon themselves to lend aid with strings attached of course. Present day some key institutions are the US Department of Health and Social Services, Action Against Hunger, Feeding America, Food Banks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Looking at Hunger from the US historical role Arizona has a unique stamp being that Van Hengel established St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, AZ as the nation’s first food bank. In its initial year, Van Hengel and his team of volunteers distributed 275,000 pounds of food to people in need. Word of the food bank’s success quickly spread, and states began to take note. By 1977, food banks had been established in 18 cities across the country (Feeding America, 2019). Van Hengel was a key player in the history of ending hunger.

St. Mary’s Food Bank, Arizona Map 2017

In 2008, Eva Clayton, the former special adviser to the Director-General of the FAO, spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives. “The situation is dire,” she stated. “Our response must be decisive and forward thinking. The failure to strengthen our global food system would ultimately lead to political and economic upheaval all over the world.

In Arizona there have been legislative efforts made by the state government one of them being the Arizona SB 1053 (2011) creates a special license plate that garners $17 per plate in donations to the Association of Arizona Food Banks, pending start-up funding of $32,000 from the Association (National Conferences of State Legislatures, 2011). This bill is a form of legislation that creates revenue to help with the emergency food funding.

Also a worthwhile blog is the Arizona Department of Health Services Arizonans Helping to Prevent Hunger Blog by the director herself, Cara Christ MD. Hunger is a real issue though it may not be staring all of us in the face it does affect vulnerable children and the homeless population.


Clear, J. (n.d.). Dutch hunger [National Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam Photo]. Retrieved from

Denning, R. (2009, October). Famine: A short history. Retrieved from

National Conferences of National Legislatures. (2012, January). State Legislation on Hunger. Retrieved from

Otter, C. (2010, March). Feast and Famine: The Global Food Crisis. Retrieved from

Shahril, M. (2014). Nourish to flourish [Graphic]. Retrieved from

Syukron, A. (2016). Obesity vs hunger [Twitter Image ]. Retrieved from

Black and White: Ethics and Hunger

When we talk about Ethics and Childhood Hunger we need to go all the way back to the first conversations about the so called “Have’s and Have Not’s.” The first real conversation about the ethical considerations regarding the subject of hunger, and famine began with Peter Singer’s (1972) paper “Famine, Affluence and Morality.” This paper ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’ launched an important round of reflection on the developed world’s moral responsibility to undertake development assistance. 

Denis Goulet’s  book The Cruel Choice has sparked the conversation about hunger and ethics. This book, published some 40 years ago and marks the beginning of development ethics. The importance of Goulet’s work is the role it played in bringing philosophy into the theory and practice of development (Thompson, 2014).

There are two main ethical arguments for and against hunger:

  • Give aid and assistance to those in need despite the financial burden (Barrett and Maxwell 2005)
  • The Ecology debate lower the birth rate or increase the death rate via starvation, infection, etc. (Hardin 1968, 1974,1976).

Seems really BLACK and WHITE don’t you think?

When we talk about ethics, it’s always important to consider the ethical principals of beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and respect for autonomy, and fidelity.

Definitions (School of Education, Syracuse University 2018)

  • Respecting autonomy: the individual has the right to act as a free agent. That is, human beings are free to decide how they live their lives as long as their decisions do not negatively impact the lives of others. Human beings also have the right to exercise freedom of thought or choice.
  • Doing no harm (Nonmaleficence): Our interactions with people (within the helping professions or otherwise) should not harm others. We should not engage in any activities that run the risk of harming others.
  • Benefiting others (Beneficence): Our actions should actively promote the health and well-being of others.
  • Being just (Justice): In the broadest sense of the word, this means being fair. This is especially the case when the rights of one individual or group are balanced against another. Being just, however, assumes three standards. They are impartiality, equality, and reciprocity (based on the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated).
  • Being faithful (Fidelity): Being faithful involves loyalty, truthfulness, promise keeping, and respect. This principle is related to the treatment of autonomous people. Failure to remain faithful in dealing with others denies individuals the full opportunity to exercise free choice in a relationship, therefore limiting their autonomy.

Personally after considering the United States childhood hunger statistics and knowing from the health perspective the implications for health outcomes of children who grow up hungry, I have come to think that we MUST be on the Pro Aid and assistance to end childhood hunger. I think the other key factor to this issue is that it MUST be sustainable. Arizona needs to implement sustainable solutions to help feed the many hungry children and their families in Maricopa County.


Barrett, Christopher B., and Daniel G. Maxwell. 2005. Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting its Role. Abingdon, OX: Routledge.

Chatterjee, R. (2017, March 23). Kids who suffer hunger in first years lag behind their peers in school. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from

Hardin, Garrett. 1968. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Science 162: 1243–1248. doi: 10.1126/science.162.3859.1243

Hardin, Garrett. 1974. Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor. Psychology Today Magazine, September 8, 38–43, 123–126.

Hardin, Garrett. 1976a. “Carrying Capacity as an Ethical Concept.” Soundings 58: 120–137.

Hardin, Garrett. 1976b. The Limits of Altruism: An Ecologist’s View of Survival. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press.

 Singer, Peter. 1972. “Famine, Affluence and Morality.” Philosophy and Public Affairs1: 229–243.

Syracuse University. (2018, October 23). Common ethical issues. Retrieved from

Thompson, P. B. (2015). From world hunger to food sovereignty: food ethics and human development. Journal of Global Ethics11(3), 336-350. Retrieved from

The Hunger Story

Beechnut. (2018, September 12). #RealFoodForChange: Help Us End Child Hunger [Video file]. Retrieved from

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:


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

Department of Economic Security. (2017). Arizonans preventing hunger action plan 2017. Retrieved from Department of Economic Security website:

Fast Casual. (2015). Ending Child Hunger [web image]. Retrieved from

Feeding America’s Children. (2018). Why Food Rescue?. Retrieved from

Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank. (2018). Hunger Statistics. Retrieved from

The Hunger Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Eelcome to my blog. My name is Wairimu Kungu. Yes that is a real name and it means a lot to me that you are reading this blog. This blog will be about all things hunger. Specifically the hunger epidemic for children in Arizona. I hope to share my insights on the topic and gain feeback as we look at the current policies and solutions being implemented.