There is no possible excuse for children to go hungry in this country. Yet it happens - every day, in every community.
According to the USDA, more than 11 million children in the United States live in "food insecure" homes. That phrase may sound mild, but it means that those households don't have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life.
And that number dates from before the coronavirus pandemic. Today, projections show that 18 million children could face hunger this year.
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Poverty and Childhood Hunger
As you might imagine, hunger is a problem that most often affects children from low-income families. A common way we measure poverty is the federal poverty level, a number set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal poverty level is the minimum amount of money a family needs each year to afford the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, and transportation.
In 2018, the federal poverty level was $25,750 for a family of four. Of course, this number is a minimum. Families making twice that much are still considered low-income by most experts, and many struggles to make ends meet.
How many Americans live in poverty? Over 38 million, or 12% of all Americans, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 15 million of those were children.
They are the most up-to-date figures, but we know that the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the American economy and the reality is that far more Americans - including children - are facing hunger and poverty today.
For a more comprehensive understanding of food insecurity, we recommend the USDA’s annual report on Household Food Security in the United States.
Federal Food Programs
One of the most effective ways to help families and children is through federal nutrition programs.
Some of the nutrition programs you may be familiar with are SNAP, WIC, and the national school lunch program. These are critical lifelines for families in need.
No Kid Hungry supports these important programs, though we focus our efforts on other federal programs that we know can make an enormous difference for hungry kids, such as the school breakfast program, the national summer meals program, and the afterschool meals program.
Together We Can Make A Difference!