When I first began to travel the world as a young woman, I was both blessed with the gift of expansion and jolted by the shock of poverty. I was raised on a large, beautiful farm, and never lived one day as a child knowing the pain of hunger. Today, nearly forty years later, there are 19 million starving children worldwide. Despite all the many challenges we face on this planet, the ultimate crying shame is the 1.5 million children who die each year from hunger, which is a polite way of saying starved to death, and the 2 million children who die from malnutrition related causes. We cannot look outside America to the hunger crisis when 17 million children in this nation are battling food scarcity and insecurity. While world hunger statistics show 33 percent of the global population to be starving, 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and malnutrition with over 7 million people who will die this year from hunger, Americans need to open their hearts to their own starving children here at home…while considering the $165 billion in food waste every year.
According to statistics presented by The Economic Collapse Blog:
- Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010. In the UK and in France that figure is well under 10 percent.
- According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years.
- Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
- It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.
- It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.
- More than 44 million Americans are currently on food stamps. That is an all-time record and that number is 18 million higher than it was back at the beginning of 2007.
- 48 percent of the 44 million Americans that are now on food stamps are children.
- According to Feeding America’s 2010 hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.
- The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.
- According to Feeding America, 50.2 million Americans lived in “food insecure households” during 2009.
- Even with tens of millions of Americans on food stamps there are still large numbers of Americans that go hungry each night. According to the BBC, 15% of all U.S. households experienced a shortage of food at some point during 2009.
- More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.
- One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.
- The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States. Statistically, there are more children in poor households than in wealthy ones.
Child hunger is a concern all over the world.
- Approximately 1 billion people around the world go to bed hungry each night.
- A lack of food among pregnant women in developing countries results in one out of every 6 babies being born with a low birth weight.
- Approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight or have had their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition.
- More than 3 billion people, close to half the world’s population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.
- Somewhere in the world someone starves to death every 3.6 seconds, and 75 percent of those are children under the age of five.
- Almost 9 million children around the world died before they reached their fifth birthday during 2008. Approximately a third of all of those deaths were attributed to hunger and malnutrition.
We must ask how and why, as an affluent nation, we are allowing this atrocity of a child hunger crisis both here at home and around the world…and how we can help and why we are not. Our starving children is a sad, pitiful reflection of mankind’s ultimate greed and selfishness at work on this planet. This misuse of power will be brought to karmic justice. As Michael Snyder explains, “Someday when the global economy is in shambles and there is a massive global food crisis, what do you think Americans are going to do when they have been without food for 3 or 4 days and their families are crying out for something to eat? Don’t think that it won’t happen. The era of endless amounts of cheap food is coming to an end. There is going to be a massive amount of hunger and poverty in the years to come.”
Can we do something now? You bet we can. We can go back to the garden, restore our soils, create community gardens and grow sustainable food. We can create solutions in our local communities for food waste and to feed the hungry. And we can pray the select few with millions and billions of dollars will show up with a heart.
We are in this global food crisis together whether you choose to be or not. If you retire each night with a satisfied belly, take a minute to think about all the children going to bed hungry…and ask yourself what you can do to help these sweet, innocent beings who deserve so much more than the repercussions of those who came before them and made a mess.
A nation that abandons their children is a lost nation which will never thrive. Shame on us if we do not save our children… and our planet.
Here is a need to read article on this topic from Nation Of Change.
Six Shameful Facts About Hunger
by Paul Buchheit
Of all the miseries placed on human beings in their everyday lives, the lack of food may be the most inexcusable. Even in a world controlled by unbending attitudes of self-reliance and individual responsibility, the reality of children and seniors and disabled citizens without food is a stain on humanity, a shameful testament to the capitalist goal of profit without conscience.
The facts presented here all touch on the lives of human beings, in the U.S. and beyond, who lack food or the means to pay for it.
1. Congress wants to cut a food program for which almost half the recipients are children
According to the Department of Agriculture, 48 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in 2011 were children. Either unaware or indifferent to this, Congress is considering a new farm bill that would cut food assistance by $2 billion a year while boosting the farm subsidies of big agriculture.
2. Some individuals make enough in 2 seconds to pay a SNAP recipient’s food bill for an entire year
Americans Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, two Kochs, and four Waltons made an average of $6 billion each from their stocks and other investments in 2012. A $6 billion per year person makes enough in two seconds (based on a 40-hour ‘work’ week) to pay a year’s worth of benefits to the average SNAP recipient. Just twenty Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire SNAP budget for 47 million people.
Capitalism encourages an individual to make as much money as possible, even without producing anything. Most Americans accept that. But questions should be raised about a system that allows the yearlong needs of a hungry person to flash by in two seconds of an investor’s life.
3. McDonald’s profits are double the total wages of ALL its food servers
McDonald’s has 440,000 employees, most of them food servers making the median hourly wage of $9.10 an hour or less, for a maximum of about $18,200 per year. The company’s $8 billion profit, after wages are paid, works out to the same amount: $18,200 per employee.
As noted by MSN Money, the company pays its front-line workers minimum wage or very close to it. But instead of passing along part of its profits to employees, McDonald’s just announced plans for increased dividends and share repurchases.
4. Just ten individuals made as much as ALL the fast food counter workers in the U.S.
The 10 richest on the Forbes list increased their combined wealth by almost $60 billion from 2011 to 2012. That’s approximately equivalent to the total annual salaries of 3,378,030 fast food counter employees if they were all able to work 40-hour weeks, 50 weeks a year.
5. Apple avoided enough in taxes to mount a global attack on malnutrition
The World Bank estimates the total cost for “successfully mounting an attack on malnutrition” would be about $10.3 to $11.8 billion annually. Apple alone underpaid its 2012 taxes by $11 billion, based on a 35 percent rate on total global income. (The company paid $8,443 current taxes on $55,763 total income, or a little over 15 percent.)
6. Speculation on food prices has contributed to the impoverishment of 115 million people
From 1996 to 2011 the portion of speculative wheat market trades by Goldman Sachs and other players went from 12 percent to 61 percent. The price of wheat went from $105 a ton in 2000 to $481 a ton in 2008.
Food prices dropped after the recession, but the World Bank notes that they’ve jumped 43 percent since 2010. The World Food Programme reported that since 2008 high prices have pushed 115 million more people into hunger and poverty.
Speculation hasn’t hurt the speculators. According to the World Wealth Report 2013, the number of High Net Worth Individuals ($1 million or more in investable assets) increased by 11.5 percent in North America in 2012, the highest rate in the world.
Billionaires are on the rise, and a billion people are without adequate food. The speculators should be ashamed.
ABOUT PAUL BUCHHEIT
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher with formal training in language development and cognitive science. He is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, RappingHistory.org, PayUpNow.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.