Hunger is an issue of dignity as much as it is about food. You cannot give people free food and abolish hunger, you need to work out schemes for involving the community and creating opportunities for them to earn their food with dignity...
— Prof. Anil Gupta, speaking in a public forum on "Is Freedom from Hunger an Achievable Goal"

There is no shame in hunger. But there is shame in knowing about hunger and doing nothing about it. It's a disgrace for the richest nation in the world (USA) to have 35 million citizens going without adequate nutrition.
—Alan Shawn Feinstein

 

NY Times, Saturday, September 27, 2003

POVERTY IN US CONTINUES TO CLIMB

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 - The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.7 million last year, and the median household income declined by 1.1 percent, the Census Bureau reported today. It was the second straight year of adverse changes in both poverty and income, the first two-year downturn since the early 1990's.

The official poverty rate rose to 12.1 percent in 2002 from 11.7 percent the year before, bringing the total number of Americans living below the poverty line to 34.6 million.

The median household earned income fell $500 over the same period to $42,400. Per capita income declined by 1.8 in 2002 to $22,794, the first decline since 1991.

Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the newest Democratic candidate, said of Mr. Bush, "With a record like this he shouldn't be running for president, he should be running for the hills."

 

 The greatest myth about world hunger is that it results from too many people competing for too little food. But overpopulation is not the problem. Hunger is the problem. The truth of the matter is that hunger promotes overpopulation. The better fed people are, the fewer children they tend to produce.

Secondly, every nation in the world has the agricultural resources to feed their own people. But poor people rarely have access to land. All across the third-world the best land is used to grow expensive cash crops — fruit and flowers — for export to wealthy nations and drugs such as coffee, tobacco, opium poppies (heroin), cocaine, and marijuana.

Third, even the self-proclaimed "richest nation in the world" — the United States — tolerates huge numbers of hungry citizens, while developing nations like Vietnam include the abolition of hunger in their domestic policies. And fourth, the argument that starvation and hunger is an unfortunate but necessary result of evolution's natural selection process fails to recognize that expanding consciousness — wisdom and compassion — are evolving too.

Deciding whether you care about other people and want to help them is a decision each individual must make for themselves. If you conclude that you don't care about others — competition and self-preservation at the expense of the group — you promote conflict, adversity, and intolerance. Realizing that you do care — cooperation and preservation for the good of the group — helps everyone.

The only real challenges to abolishing world hunger forever are fear of change and the will to do it anyway.

Data:

  • One billion people on earth (16%) experience hunger during a given year.
  • Currently 840,000 people on this earth are literally starving to death. Two-thirds of them are children.
  • 40,000 people die each day from hunger-related causes.
  • 24,000 to 30,000 people die each day from starvation.
  • 1.2 billion people live on less than one-dollar per day.
  • 1 billion people do not have access to clean water.
  • More than 2 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation.
  • 1.3 billion people, mostly in cities in the developing world, are breathing air below the standards considered acceptable by the World Health Organization.
  • 700 million people, mostly women and children, suffer from indoor air pollution due to biomass-burning stoves, equivalent to smoking three packs of cigarettes per day.
  • Hundreds of millions of poor farmers have difficulty maintaining the fertility of soils from which they eke out a meager living.

Data for Los Angeles:
Family size 2002 - US Poverty
Threshold
1
$9,182
2
$11,752
3
$14,351
4
$18,390
5
$21,743
6
$24,578

  • In 2003, 82,096 people (0.9%) in L.A. County were homeless, up from 78,600 (0.8%) in 2002.
  • According to the 2000 US Census, 58% of L.A. County's homeless population are high school graduates, and 10% have a Bachelor's degree or higher.
  • In 2003, 18% of L.A. County's homeless are veterans, nearly double the number of veterans in the overall population (9%). .
  • 1,674,599 people (17.9%) are living in poverty in Los Angeles County.
  • 640,145 children (24.6%) in LA County are poor.
  • Statewide in California, the poverty rate is 14.2%; nationally it is 12.1%.
  • 584,000 LA County residents (nearly 6%) experience hunger every year.
  • 1.5-million LA County residents (nearly 15%) experience food insecurity at some time during the year.

  • Fully one-third (33%) of all single-parent families in LA live below the poverty line.

  • 84,300 people in LA County are homeless on any given night. Up to 236,400 people are homeless in the course of a year.

Explore the following resources to learn what you can do to Abolish Hunger Forever!

Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Food Research and Action Center Center on Hunger and Poverty
California Food Policy Advocates California Association of Food Banks
Anti-Hunger Programs in the U.S.A. PLAN - Progressive Los Angeles Network
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations University of Rhode Island - Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America
Institute for Food and Development Policy The Feinstein Foundation
Food First Information Action Network (FIAN) International The Hunger Site
Diet for a Small Planet / Hope's Edge The Hunger Project
Congressional Hunger Center Action Against Hunger
Stop the Hunger World Hunger Education Service
World Hunger Year Bread for the World
America's Second Harvest Oxfam International
Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center Oxfam America
National Coalition for the Homeless Freedom from Hunger
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty Action Aid
Center on Hunger & Poverty Stop Hunger Now
Know Hunger Save the Children - USA
Primal Seeds - Seed Bank International Center for Peace and Development
Genetic Resources Action International - GRAIN Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger
Children's Hunger Relief Fund Mercy Corps (Catholic)
Earth First Organic Consumers Association
Earth Island Institute Global Hunger Alliance

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This page was updated on Friday, October 7, 2005 8:35 AM