The United States is one of the richest countries on Earth. But according to a new report, thousands of American children go to bed hungry each night. In fact, one in five American households with children are food insecure — meaning that they have difficulty consistently providing food for all members of their family during the year.
From the USDA:
The USDA annual report also includes statistics on food insecurity in different types of households. We find that in general, households with children have higher food insecurity rates than those without children. In 2013, one-in-five households with children were food insecure. Most parents try to protect their children from food insecurity, to the extent they can. So in about half of these food-insecure households, only adults were food insecure.
But both children and adults were food insecure in 9.9 percent of households with children—meaning that these 3.8 million households were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children at times during the year. A subset of these households—0.9 percent of all households with children (360,000 households) —faced food insecurity so severe that parents reported that children were hungry, skipped a meal, or did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food. This subset of households with children was down from 1.2 percent in 2012.
This, of course, is nothing short of shameful. No matter your politics, or how you think we got here as a nation, it's impossible to look at these statistics [these children, these adults, these human beings] and not hang your head in shame.
If we don't reverse course, history will not judge 21st century Americans very well. We can do better. We must do better.
Image: The shelves at a food shelf in Enosburg Falls, Vermont in 2010 via AP