1 in 5 Children

1 in 5 children in the United States are living with child hunger or food insecurity according to Feeding America, the leading domestic food-relief charity.  1 in 5 children.

But it doesn’t stop there, nearly 1 in 3 African American children are struggling with food security issues and more than 1 in 3 Latino children live in food insecure homes.  Latino households are also less likely than their African American or white, non-Hispanic, counterparts to receive federal support from programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).

Think of the kids you see every day.  On average, if you see 20 kids at your library in one day, 4 are struggling with food security issues at home.  Although ratios vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, child hunger exists in every community.

“Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS.”

— Gundersen, C., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., Satoh, A., & Chawla, N. (2013). Map the Meal Gap 2013.  Feeding America.

Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month.  Join Feeding America, Together, We Can Solve Hunger TM and a nationwide network of food banks to raise awareness and encourage your community to take action against hunger.

  • Organize a local Hunger Awareness Day at your library or organization.  Wear orange to show your support, get the media involved, and collect items for a local food pantry.
  • Share your community’s hunger statistics in as many ways as you can this month – on your library website, Facebook, Twitter, local newspapers, posters, etc.
    • Check out the interactive Map the Meal Gap map to find out more about how your county compares to others in the nation.
  • Take the SNAP challenge.  Can you live on $4.50 for an entire day?  That’s the average daily assistance provided to individuals enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
  • Collaborate with your local food bank.  Is there a way you or your library can volunteer time or resources to support hunger needs in the community?
  • Be creative.  What else can you do to raise awareness on this issue in your library and community?  Could you collaborate with local WIC offices? What about a nutritionist on healthy meal planning?  What other food-related issues could you address?

Looking for other great ways to get involved?  Check out Feeding America or this great wiki of ideas from Adult Services in Allegheny County Libraries.

We all have a job to do in helping to get food to those in need.  What can your library do this month to stop a child from going to bed hungry?

 

Sara Hathaway, Money Smarts for Preschoolers, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and ALSC Committee Member, Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers.

 

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One Response to 1 in 5 Children

  1. Jennifer says:

    Last year, for my We Explore program series, I brought in a guest presenter and each month we did a healthy snacking/multicultural food exploration. We found parents from different cultures and worked with them to present a different food each month, focusing on simple, healthy food and snacks. It was not only a great way to introduce parents and kids to new food and healthy eating habits, it also connected us with people who might otherwise have felt somewhat marginalized in our small, very homogenous community.

    We also do a food for fines program and the food is donated to two local food pantries. We used to do it around the holidays, but last year I brought in a lot of research and articles from food pantries and successfully convinced staff that while it was “traditional” it wasn’t actually the time when food pantries needed donations. Now we do it in April, celebrating National Library Week, and it’s more helpful for the food pantries who get low during that time of year.

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