By: Christie A.
This month we are looking at the complex and multifaceted nature of hunger. Here are some recent events, studies, and headlines worth noting:
In the US, Covid-19 Recovery Measures will be repealed in March, and it will directly impact Americans’ Food Budgets: The temporary increase made to SNAP benefits are set to end nationwide after the February 2023 issuance. This will hit many lower-income households with as much as a $400/month decrease in food stamps starting in March 2023. In Texas, it is anticipated that that will affect roughly 3.6 million households, and will put an increased burden on food banks and food-aid programs. Meanwhile, these aid programs are already struggling to keep up with increasing food prices.
Conflict, Natural Disasters and Climate Change continue to affect hunger and food supply. Most recently, we are seeing a desperate need for food in the aftermath of the Turkey and Syria earthquake. With the death toll over 30,000. It is anticipated that millions will need emergency food assistance in the coming weeks and months.
The combination of pandemic recovery, natural disasters and climate change are creating a global food crisis that’s raising concern. Many respected agencies are predicting that in 2023, the crisis in inflated food prices will turn into a food supply crisis. Additionally, many countries are seeing a huge increase in undernourishment.
We’ve known for some time that there is a direct correlation between the rise in food costs and the direct negative effect that it has on hungry children. Stand Together for Nutrition’s Micronutrient Forum released some new findings at the end of 2022, showing “a 5% increase in the real price of food will increase the risk of wasting [in vulnerable children] by 9%.” Furthermore, they anticipate that “this crisis will affect the most vulnerable, particularly mothers and children who live in poor households and in rural communities.”
The U.N. World Food Program is shedding light on recent finding around women and hunger. The UN introduced this observation of women “eating last and least,” raising concern that in areas where we are seeing disasters, women tend to disproportionately bear the brunt of hunger. One contributing factor to this is that “Women are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners for their homes as climate change pushes men to migrate away to find work outside their towns and villages.”
Hunger is a challenging issue that many of the world’s leading agencies are working to solve. Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals back in 2015, we’ve actually seen a steady increase in hunger, largely attributed to the pandemic and disasters. From 2019-2021, we saw hunger in Latin America jump by 30%. It begs the question, had so many of us not been working on combatting hunger, how much worse would it have been?
Just because a problem is complex and hard to solve doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of our efforts and energy. As we lean in and work together, we can make a difference, measured in the lives of each hungry child that receives food.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” –Mother Teresa
Ways you can combat hunger today:
- Host a food drive
- Jump in to help with one of these volunteer opportunities
- Give to Feed hungry children, $50 can provide food for 5 children for a month.
Learn More: 10 Ways to Fight Hunger in Your Community.