Hunger doesn’t hit us until it creeps into our homes.
In part, that’s why Feeding America, a non-profit that fights hunger, studies U.S. Department of Agriculture data and targets its analysis at the needs of children. The annual report helps local groups address hunger.
Feeding America translates data into food-insecure households where family members are unable to consistently access the adequate amount of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. The report details county-by-county numbers.
The report noted that 16.1 percent of the people living in the eight-county region, including Madison County, served by Second Harvest Food Bank are food insecure. That’s 74,090 of our neighbors. That number alone is about the same as Muncie’s population.
The percentage is comparable in Madison County alone, 16 percent, or 21,070 people.
Hunger has a strange presence in a land of plenty. Generally, most of us drive by, or through, fast-food lanes and never give hunger another thought. But Madison County families are hurting.
If hunger seems a distant concern, look no further than Elwood, where public schools are providing a summer lunch program for children under 18. Parents pay $3 a lunch. The lunches, available at Callaway Park, have been served to about 90 kids a day. That number has doubled since last year.
The need doesn’t exist solely in Elwood. Hunger is not contained by city or county boundaries.Thankfully, there are groups like Second Harvest that actively push to feed the needy.
For years, the Indiana Department of Education has implemented the School Nutrition Program, known as the free and reduced lunch system. In addition, the department administers special breakfast, lunch, milk and other programs aimed at providing students with nutritious meals.
Those programs rely on federal and state departments working together.
They typically cannot reach into homes to find the truly “food-insecure — the parents who miss a meal in order to cover their children’s needs or the care-giving sibling who skips a bite to provide for their parent.
Consider supporting programs, such as Second Harvest or community-based food giveaways or church pantries that help provide food. They help handle the tragedy of hunger, something many of us don’t see until it creeps into our homes.
Many of us don't see hunger until it hits home. Let's appreciate groups that address the tragedy of hunger.