Dealing with hunger in America

June 7th, 2016

There’s a lot more hunger outside your door than you may realize. During 2014 an estimated one in seven Americans faced inadequate or inconsistent access to food at some point. That figure has held pretty steady since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a Feeding America report recently released. The problem is not necessarily about having enough food. Instead, people are hungry because the food isn’t accessible to them or the food is not nearly nutritious enough.

According to Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv: “There’s plenty of food in America. This is more about a transportation problem, a distribution problem, a political will problem. It’s not about lack of availability.” And, of course, the problem varies quite significantly around the country. One Virginia county has a 4.3 percent food insecurity rate, while Jefferson county, Mississippi, measures 37.5 percent — the highest in the country. Overall, in the U.S., states and counties in the South tend to have the highest rate of food insecurity.

Feeding America is attempting to streamline all the functions of food banks and pantries — donation, collection, stocking, access and distribution — into an organized system so that individuals are better able to receive the food they need when they need it. But the lines at food banks continue to get longer and more people keep showing up for help. Food insecurity is not necessarily a problem we can solve by simply adding more food pantries.

How can we help?

As followers of Christ, we must ask some difficult questions to discover our role in serving our hungry neighbors:

  • How can we help people afford adequate food? 
  • How can we provide nutritious food closer to needy populations at an affordable price? 
  • What kind of education is needed to ensure we are making smart, long-term decisions? 
  • And most importantly, how can God guide us in these discussions, decisions and ministries?

Question of the day: How can we actively feed the hungry?
Focal scriptures: Exodus 16:1-3; Luke 6:20-26; Matthew 5:1-11; John 12:1-8

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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