Thursday, September 01, 2022
Every year, food banks and food advocates come together during Hunger Action Month to raise awareness for their ongoing efforts to fight hunger in the community, advocate for political change, promote nutritious options, support local partners, and save food from being wasted. We believe that nutritious food is not a privilege but a right and that no one should have to choose between necessities. Food on the table should never have to be weighed against rent, electricity, education, or clean water.
The first Hunger Action Month happened in 2008 when Feeding America realized an immediate change was needed in response to the economic crash. Since then, it has grown into a nationwide effort to demand change nationwide. This September, we invite you to join the fight against hunger and share your voice.
“With over 400,000 Inland Empire neighbors at risk of experiencing food insecurity, each donation truly makes a difference. For every $1 donated, FARSB can provide up to 7 meals,” says Carolyn Solar, the Chief Executive Officer here at Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB). “We are all one unexpected emergency away from food insecurity. This Hunger Action Month, consider making a gift of any size, to ensure those experiencing food insecurity right now, have the support that they need. There are numerous ways to give back, and each one plays a crucial role in helping to see our mission of alleviating hunger through.”
Fast Facts About Hunger:
In 2019 and 2020, 38 million Americans (10.5%) experienced food insecurity, including 12 million children. In California, over 4 million individuals (10.8%) are experiencing food insecurity. Roughly 76% of these individuals are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (otherwise known as SNAP or CalFresh), but because of stigma, California has one of the lowest rates of SNAP engagement, averaging 70%. To help beat the stigma, “food stamps” were reimagined as SNAP, but there are still several myths surrounding the program and other programs like it.
Food is a necessity, and there should never be any shame in finding help to put groceries on the table. Application to and use of SNAP is also confidential and does not impact green card status or eligibility for citizenship. You also do not have to be homeless or unemployed to be eligible for SNAP, most participating households include at least one working adult, but even those working full-time are not immune to food inflation. Participating in SNAP also does not take anything away from someone who “needs it more”. The SNAP budget is both flexible and underused, and someone else’s hunger does not diminish your own. Many people also believe that the process is too lengthy for a relatively small payoff, but applications can take as little as 10 minutes (though after that, processing can take up to 30 days), they are currently offered in 18 languages, and the average two-person household receives $240 a month for groceries. Not only that, it’s great for the economy–every $1 invested in SNAP generates $1.67 in economic activity.
Hunger is not an issue of scarcity, but logistics. 108 billion pounds of good food is wasted yearly, equivalent to 130 billion meals. If we estimate that each of the 38 million Americans facing food insecurity will need 3 meals a day, that’s still enough food to feed every one of these individuals for a full year… three times over. Reducing food waste and demanding that legislators hold corporations and retailers accountable can help redirect these meals from landfills, where they would otherwise go to waste and produce methane gas.
There are many ways to GET INVOLVED with Hunger Action Month!
Fight the stigma. For many people, there is a cloud of misinformation and stigma surrounding hunger. Debunking these beliefs and helping spread the truth can empower individuals who are eligible for nutrition programs like SNAP.
Advocate for change. Even for those who are not eligible for or in need of SNAP, being informed and empowered can be the first step toward contacting local representatives and lawmakers to support anti-hunger legislation.
Join a campaign. Feeding America has its own pledge that anyone can sign on to, joining one’s name to the fight against hunger in whatever way one can. You can find it HERE
Volunteer time or funds. FARSB and all its sister food banks are one hundred percent non-profit organizations, that rely on their frontline volunteers and gracious donors to continue fighting hunger and advocating for policy change.
Reduce food waste. Composting, understanding expiration dates and food labeling, experimenting with sustainable recipes, and donating to a food drive are all great ways to help reduce the billions of pounds of wasted food.
Spread awareness on social media. Posting online can help spark a conversation and spread awareness. For Hunger Action Month, many will post the many ways hunger interferes with daily life, with stories and captions sharing how “when hungry, I can’t… sleep/study/stay active”, etc.
Wear orange. The color for Hunger Action Month is orange, so you can spend all month sporting the color and spreading awareness, or even just September 23rd, which marks the official Hunger Action Day.
Fundraise for Hunger Action Month. Fundraisers spread awareness to a wide audience and boost social change. As mentioned previously, $1 donated can provide up to 7 meals and we have a few options for donating and fundraising HERE. Or text HungerAction to 71777
Hunger for Change:
The hunger statistics can be overwhelming. Many people may see the issue of hunger but feel helpless in fighting such a prevalent issue. We encourage you to take that challenge with us–while it’s true that one person can’t fix hunger alone, by making small conscious efforts to reduce waste, stay informed, advocate for change, and support food banks, the combined intentions of a community can make a huge difference. It’s a chance to spread awareness, dedicate ourselves to a solution, listen to the stories of those who have survived (or are currently experiencing) food insecurity, and demand legislative change. We’re stronger together, and we are honored to share this fight with you.