Community Nutrition · My Dietetics Journey

Hunger: How Do We Help?

On October 24th and 25th, HungerU came to WVU. HungerU, an initiative of the Farm Journal Foundation, travels across the country, visiting college campuses to start the conversation about hunger. As a part of their “conversation starter”, they hold a short quiz, which, upon completion, donates a meal to local food shelters. At WVU, we were able to donate 348 meals!

I helped coordinate the a collaboration between HungerU and WVU’s Food Recovery Network – a student organization that collects food that would otherwise be thrown away from campus dining halls/cafes at the end of the week to donate to local charities. FRN set up a table next to the HungerU display as a way for students to become immediately involved in addressing hunger on campus. We were able to gather several signatures of individuals interested in our club and had 190 signatures on our petition for composting on campus. Overall, it was a great success!

hungeru
At the FRN table during HungerU’s visit to campus!

How can we address hunger in our own communities? First, let’s take a look at some statistics:

  • “13.1 million children in the U.S. lived in food insecure households in 2015.” (FeedingAmerica.org) What is food insecurity? Having unreliable access to adequate quantity of affordable, nutritious foods.
  • “In fiscal year 2014, more than 20 million or 44 percent of all SNAP participants were children under age 18.” (FeedingAmerica.org)
  • “1 in 6 people in America face hunger.” (DoSomething.org)
  • “More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.” (DoSomething.org)
  • “40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.” (DoSomething.org)
  • “Those who are chronically hungry are also more likely to be obese, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.” (Loavesfishes.org)

Hunger is a huge problem all over the world and in the United States. (Isn’t it paradoxical for a country that has so much food waste to have so many starving citizens? Food for thought.) Fighting hunger can sound like a huge task, but all it takes is devoted community members coming together to make a change. Even if that change was in just one person’s life, it was worth it.

Here are three simple ideas for addressing hunger in your community:

  1. Volunteer at soup kitchens, backpack programs, and summer meal programs.
  2. Practice sustainable eating habits by reducing your edible food waste and buying local produce. (See my article on buying local here.)
  3. Donate directly to hunger relief efforts at Feeding America, Unicef, Loaves and Fishes, or your local hunger relief organization.

In addition, you may enjoy learning about and possibly purchasing from FEED. This company sells purses/bags/clothing to help aid their fight against worldwide hunger. (I’ve purchased a purse from them and absolutely love it! See the Frida Crossbody purse.) Read their story and maybe your next favorite accessory will fund efforts to address hunger and malnutrition around the world. How many of your purses can say that?! Click here to read about the FEED Foundation.

Together, we can make hunger a thing of the past.

stop-hunger

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