Why does America have so many hungry kids?

June 26, 2017

As Dingman made her food distribution rounds one day, she felt a sensation tugging at her hand, and turns to see a barely dressed, little boy walking barefoot, looking at her in the most loving eyes. His name was Ryder. Never had she encountered such a tender moment with such a little boy. She then lifts her head up and notices the boy’s father watching over him from a distance at a hotel door.

Kids like Ryder who live in food-insufficient, households constitute 13.1 million children of America (USDA). Having enough food is a daily struggle that millions of families have to go through. Ryder’s family consists of 5 people, and they cram to live in one small hotel room. Pfaffly’s day job as a hotel cleaner is not enough to provide for their living. And for transportation? Their broken down car was too broken down that Pfaffly had to quit her second day job as a cashier at a local restaurant. To imagine not only Ryder’s family but also 13 other million families who live under this constant struggle is truly devastating — especially at a country in which everyone believes to be “the American dream”.

So the real question is, “Why DOES America have so many hungry children in such a supposedly wealthy nation?” Stallings, co-founder of “Jesus Was Homeless”, a nonprofit organization serving food weekly to a rough thousand of people (with 700 of them being children), believes that “greed and government” seem to be the sole reasons that cause this national hunger issue: “There‘s too many government health restrictions that force restaurants to throw away food“ instead of donating it to the needy. It’s also greed: We‘re not helping our neighbors.” In addition, he states that we aren’t intentionally not helping our neighbors, but rather blames it on the “rushed society” that we live in.

What’s even more shocking is the amount of food we throw away or don’t end up eating yearly–40 percent. 40 percent of uneaten food. 40 percent of uneaten food means enough food to feed an approximate 25 million Americans. Feeding 25 million Americans means more than enough food to fill all stomachs of those 13 million children.

So how’s America doing now after their realization? Thankfully, many have taken action by launching food programs, such as restaurants, which are now using the food that would be tossed out, into food accessible to homeless shelters and food kitchens. Also, the national percentage of food-insufficient households has been decreasing significantly over the years, with a percentage below 8 percent by 2015 (USDA). Child hunger is even being emphasized in schools;“Blessings in a Backpack” is a nationwide program that packs backpacks filled with food for children to take over for the weekends.

Through the action that people have taken, it is with great thanks to them in which the number of hungry children is decreasing day by day. With this continuous support, communities grow stronger by the day.

<Diane Kim, 11th grade, Fairmont Prep>

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