Not all hunger problems are alike, but every child needs adequate nutrition to develop their brains and their bodies.
Given the growing problem in our own country and the drastic cuts to nutrition programs in the President’s proposed 2018 budget, one wonders what it will take for Congress to say, “STOP IT MR. PRESIDENT. Our children deserve a healthy future.”
Food security is a federal measure of a household’s ability to provide enough food for every person in the family to have an active, healthy life. In 2015, 13.1 million children in America lived in food-insecure households. Despite the fact the economy has been improving since the recession of 2008, food insecurity has continued to increase because so many families are one paycheck or one medical problem away from financial disaster.
Paul Taylor, Faith and Money Network’s board president, has been volunteering with the Sacramento Food Bank since 1989. That organization supplies food to 225 client agencies from very small to very large, and the agencies then distribute the food to those who need it. In 2016 they provided 22 million pounds of food to their clients, but for all of them to get as much as they need to meet healthy, nutrition standards, and to serve everyone in need in the area, that amount would have to increase to 58 million pounds per year. The suppliers of that food are nearby growers, grocery stores and quick marts, the United States Department of Agriculture, and annual food drives, as well as national and local fund raising sources.
The Sacramento Food Bank is one of 200 food banks across the country that receives assistance from Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The concept of food banking was developed in the 1960s by John van Hengel, a retired Arizona businessman who had been volunteering at a soup kitchen. His story is on the Feeding America website. “One day, he met a desperate mother who regularly rummaged through grocery store garbage bins to find food for her children. She suggested that there should be a place where, instead of being thrown out, discarded food could be stored for people to pick up – similar to the way “banks” store money for future use.”
Out of that chance encounter, van Hengel developed the first food bank, which was initially called Second Harvest and then became Feeding America. In their first year of operation they distributed 275,000 pounds of food to people in need and in the process demonstrated for us how to respond today to Jesus’ command to his disciples in Mark 6:37 to “Fix supper for them.”
Why am I telling you all this?
Over the years there has been so much coverage of starving children in war-torn and drought-stricken countries that those photographs have lost the shock value which moved us to action in times past. What will it take to get you involved in feeding the children of America and the world today?
Blessings on your efforts,