According to the World Food Program, there are approximately 821 million people in the world that go to bed hungry. That number might seem minuscule to some, but it represents one in nine people on this planet we call home. Food is one of the constant factors that define human existence because it is necessary for human survival. Food is, therefore, a human right that should be accessible to all people regardless of their social status, racial background, or political orientation. As humans, we owe it to ourselves and to others to ensure that we do the best we can to ensure others have access to food. However, just as the late New York Senator, Robert Kennedy said, "few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events." That means there is a small group of people that have the capacity of the capability to feed millions of people. However, we don't need to be able to supply a billion people to make a difference; each of us can set out to reduce if not to end hunger, within our immediate environment. That is why I have set out to create a hunger awareness that seeks to reduce hunger by encouraging food sustainability and food donations.
A lot of the methods of food production and consumption adopted in the modern world are not sustainable. The production and consumption process involves a lot of wastage of resources and product. For example, according to a report by The Guardian, Americans throw away approximately 50 percent of all food products. A quantity that equates to some US $160 billion annually.
Imagine if only a fraction of that food could be donated to feed those who are unable to feed themselves. Or better yet, donating a fraction of the money that one would have used on food expenses, to charity. Rather than throwing away 160 billion dollars a year, that money could end hunger in the United States. You should know that every time you throw away food, you essentially deny someone else the opportunity to eat. The United States has one of the lowest food prices in the world, and that makes it easy for a large part of the population to have access to food. But as long as people are grappling with poverty, then there is always going to be hunger. Hunger and poverty come hand in hand, and one cannot exist in the absence of the other. Therefore, even allocating a small portion of one's income to charity regardless of whether its food related will eventually work its way to reducing hunger in America.
Mother Teresa said, if you can't feed a hundred people, then feed one. You can directly donate the food to food banks, soup kitchens, and food pantries. The problem is not that people are unwilling to donate their food. Several people are willing to donate their food. However, most people are just not aware of the level of food hunger present in the country. It is easy for one to care less about a starving mother and child an ocean away, but it becomes hard for one to ignore the issue if it's happening in their backyard. The Why Hunger Organization estimates that there are approximately 5.8 million households in the United States that have severe food insecurity. That leaves over 40 million Americans dependent on Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP). I seek to inform more people in this country about the plight of their fellow Americans just like you and me, who are suffering and lack access to basic needs such as food. The more people know about the starvation of their fellow Americans, the more they will be willing to donate to a charitable cause that aims at ending hunger.
Finally, there is a need to change the means of food production to make it sustainable. The current agricultural and food production methods are unsustainable, and that affects the food accessibility across the country. Better farming methods, along with manufacturing, could be used even further to decrease the cost of food and make for a well-fed country. For instance, we could start by paying farmers their works worth by ending subsidies to agricultural commodities such as soy and sugar. The better pay for the farmers will encourage more people, especially the younger generation, to take up agriculture as a career and replace the current crop of aging farmers. A significant portion of the hungry population live in urban areas, but the food comes from rural communities. Alternatively, we should push Congress to implement policies that encourage small farmers and support them. The current set of policies prioritize large scale farmers and large agribusinesses corporations over small farmers hence forcing them out. The laws need to make it possible for people with little land to farm on it to increase overall food production in the country.
These are some of the measures that we should consider in our attempt to end hunger in America. We can only take care of others if we can take care of ourselves, but as things stand, we are yet to reach that goal. Food insecurity is a menace in the world, and it affects more people than you would think. It is essential for us to recognize that it is our responsibility to feed those unable to feed themselves and take it upon our individual selves to work towards ending hunger not just in America but in the world, by helping one person at a time.
Goldenberg, Suzanne. "Half of All US Food Produce Is Thrown Away, New Research Suggests." The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 July 2016, www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/13/us-food-waste-ugly-fruit-vegetables-perfect?CMP=share_btn_tw.
WFP. "Zero Hunger." World Food Program, World Food Program, 2018, www1.wfp.org/zero-hunger.
WhyHunger. "Just the Facts About Hunger in the US & The World." WhyHunger, Why Hunger.org, 2018, whyhunger.org/just-the-facts/.
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