Children should play…learn… do their chores. But no child should ever go hungry. Many of us associate hunger and poverty with “other” countries.
But in an era of economic uncertainty poverty is hitting closer to home. Today countless children in North America start and end their day with debilitating hunger.
In the US, for example, a record 44.5 million Americans received Food Stamps in March 2011. The US Food Stamps federal assistance program really began in 1939 as the Great Depression ended. Discontinued in 1943, it was reinstated with the Food Stamp Act of 1964. This was part of President Lyndon B Johnson’s sweeping social safety net that included instituting the popular US Medicare Program for senior citizens.
In the US, the US Food Stamp program is under attack. Certain factions in Congress are proposing cuts and changes to the Food Stamp program that will be devastating to many who depend on the program as their last defense against hunger. As an Indianlife community member, you know the importance of healthy vegetarian and vegan food. If you are in the US you can take action here to help support the US Food Stamps Program: http://www.change.org/petitions/demand-congress-continue-funding-food-stamps-end-childhood-hunger
In Canada, income disparities are growing, and so are hunger statistics for children. Many people have found themselves losing full-time jobs or a percentage of income during the recent recession. And the expansion of the “low-wage” economy continues to turn more families into the “working poor.”
Today the figures for children caught in this tragic spiral are shocking: 37.8% of food bank clients in Canada are under 18. Households with children accessing food banks make up over half of food bank recipients.
At Indianlife we donate our manufacturing overages to North American Food banks, and we’re active in groups that fight hunger, poverty and hopelessness.
You can get involved too. Donating and volunteering at your local food bank is a good start! Find out where your local food bank is in the US: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx Learn where your local food bank is in Canada at http://www.cafb-acba.ca/main.cfm.