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Food For Thought: The Bare Necessities

By Megan Patrick

Keeping the government operational isn’t Congresses’ only challenge this fall; we are also in disparate need of a viable Farm Bill and/or Nutrition Assistance Bill.

I’ve had several experiences lately that have really opened my eyes to all that I take for granted on a daily basis. One of those was watching the documentary “A Place at the Table.” As someone with an interest in food policy and social justice it was a no-brainer to add to my Netflix queue, but as I listened to the facts and the stories of those who are the faces behind the statistics, I realized that these were facts that everyone should hear, needed to hear.

One nation, underfed

It’s very easy think, in this age of technological advancement and wealth of resources, that the vast majority of Americans have running water, sewer, transportation and access to food, but sadly, that is not the case. In the 1970’s, hunger was almost eradicated in the U.S., but now over 50 million Americans are living in food insecure households. 1-out-of-2 kids in America will rely on federal assistance for food at some point in their childhood. (Source: A Place at the Table)

I realize that determining who’s responsibility it is to feed the hungry, whether the government or private charity, is a decisive issue, but I refuse to believe those involved would rather see children go hungry than to compromise. (I won’t expand on how theSNAP program works here, but I encourage you the watch “A Place at the Table” or do a Google search-you may be surprised.) Half of all teachers report that hunger is a serious issue in their classrooms; hunger prevents children from focusing and may lead to large percentage of the next generation never reaching their full potential. (Source: A Place At The Table)

And making sure food gets to those who need it is only half the battle; food must also be healthy enough to not lead to serious, expensive health issues down the line. Since 1980, the cost of fruits and vegetables has risen approximately 40 percent, while the cost of soda has fallen 33 percent.

The cost of healthy eating

We’re lucky, not just because we have the resources to sit down to a dinner of fresh vegetables, but because we have the opportunity to bring awareness to issues like hunger in America and demand the necessary change from our government and society. We cannot continue to move forward while leaving so many behind.

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