Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rising Tide of Hunger

New USDA Report Shows Growing Food Insecurity.
Low-income households have faced shrinking governmental supports and paid more than wealthier households for the very same food items long before the spike in food prices. What may seem like a relatively small increase in the cost of food expenditures can significantly affect a low-income family's ability to meet energy, housing, and health care costs, as well as to provide food for their families.
The current economic downturn is only boosting the number of people struggling to make ends meet and afford nutritious food. The USDA report's findings should increase pressure on Congress to act urgently to bolster the hunger safety net, and provide the resources needed to help food aid catch up with the rising costs of food and pressure of the economic downturn. There are economic stimulus proposals in Congress to help do just that. The report also underlines the importance of longer-term action from President-elect Obama as part of his commitment to end childhood hunger by 2015.
The persistence and growth of hunger and food insecurity is one part of the broader need to reduce poverty in the United States. President-elect Obama has also committed to a measurable poverty-cutting goal, similar that of the the Center for American Progress' Poverty Task Force and Half in Ten campaign goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years. Acting on this goal would also significantly reduce the risk of hunger for millions of families nationwide.
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