Hard Working and Still Hungry: The New Reality of Food Insecurity

Friday, Mar 06, 2020

Though the United States is one of the wealthiest and agriculturally advanced countries in the world, food insecurity for its citizens is still a very prevalent issue. 

No geographical location is safe from food insecurity, it can be felt coast to coast, even in rural areas like shutterstock_1142634044ours in the north state of California. In California alone, almost 5 million adults and 2 million children are effected. 

With the federal budget reduced for programs like SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, working class poor Americans face more pressure to put food on the table.

National Geographic Magazine produced a story "The New Face Of Hunger" documenting with studies, stories and photographs of the current state of hungry families in America.

"In the United States more than half of hungry households are white, and two-thirds of those with children have at least one working adult—typically in a full-time job. With this new image comes a new lexicon: In 2006 the U.S. government replaced “hunger” with the term “food insecure” to describe any household where, sometime during the previous year, people didn’t have enough food to eat. By whatever name, the number of people going hungry has grown dramatically in the U.S., increasing to 48 million by 2012—a fivefold jump since the late 1960s, including an increase of 57 percent since the late 1990s. Privately run programs like food pantries and soup kitchens have mushroomed too. In 1980 there were a few hundred emergency food programs across the country; today there are 50,000. Finding food has become a central worry for millions of Americans. One in six reports running out of food at least once a year. In many European countries, by contrast, the number is closer to one in 20....

The root problem is the lack of jobs that pay wages a family can live on, so food assistance has become the government’s—and society’s—way to supplement low wages. The Jeffersons receive $125 in food stamps each month, and a charity brings in meals for their bedridden matriarch.

Like most of the new American hungry, the Jeffersons face not a total absence of food but the gnawing fear that the next meal can’t be counted on. When Meme shows me the family’s food supply, the refrigerator holds takeout boxes and beverages but little fresh food. Two cupboards are stocked with a smattering of canned beans and sauces. A pair of freezers in the garage each contain a single layer of food, enough to fill bellies for just a few days. Meme says she took the children aside a few months earlier to tell them they were eating too much and wasting food besides. “I told them if they keep wasting, we have to go live on the corner, beg for money, or something.”

To read more about National Geographic's analysis of hunger in America, including both anecdotes and data from the US Department of Agriculture Click Here.

 

North State Food Bank


The CAA’s North State Food Bank collects and distributes food  throughout the service region encompassing Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Plumas, Sierra and Tehama counties.  With the help of our extensive network of partners, the North State Food Bank offers multiple programs to help low income families get the food and nutrition they need each month. Below is an outline of the programs that we run with our incredible team of staff and volunteers.

 

Help End Hunger In Our Community

 


Since 1967, the Community Action Agency of Butte County has been serving the needs of the region in alignment with the charter of the National Community Action Agencies overarching goal: To alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty by whatever means necessary in your community. As Butte County CAA, we provide hope to people struggling with poverty to become more self-sustaining by meeting tangible needs in the areas of energy savings, affordable food, and housing. Connect with us to find out how you can get involved.