"Oh, God, to those who have hunger, give bread,
and in those who have bread, create hunger for justice"

Latin American Prayer

Butterfly Effect    

HungerNetOhio #7.9: More Poor

Email conversations about "ending hunger in Ohio through changing conditions which cause poverty"

TO  Advocates for reducing hunger 
FROM  Hunger Network in Ohio 
ABOUT  Sobering stats about poverty: not all gain is good

The latest official data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal that 49 million people were living in households facing food insecurity-the government phrase for families struggling with hunger. More than 16.7 million were children.

When coupled with just released statistics on the more recent overall rise poverty, the news is just as bad and forecast worse.

The year 2009 brought a large increase in national poverty, with poverty rates jumping to 14.3 percent from 13.2 percent in 2008. In Ohio, poverty rose from 12.5 percent in 2008 to 13.5 percent in 2009 with 117,000 people joining the ranks of the poor.

The poverty rate would have risen even further had it not been for key public benefit programs and expansions made to them under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Unemployment insurance benefits extensions and increase alone kept 800,000 individuals nationally out of poverty in 2009. Because the official poverty measure reflects the impact of only some benefit programs that the Recovery Act temporarily expanded, its real impact on families is much greater.

The good news is that we know what works to solve hunger in America. A strong economy with shared prosperity and rising wages for all; and common sense government supports for children, working age adults, and seniors who don't have enough income for a healthy diet. Those supports include the Children Nutrition and food stamp (recently renamed “SNAP” for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) programs are at the top.

However, eager to get home and back to campaigning for their jobs, congress yesterday “cut and ran.” Essentially punting the ball to a post election lame duck team, they deferred Child Nutrition Reauthorization and recovery of food stamp offset monies (see HungerNetOhio 7.8, our last email alert), until after the November election, waiting until December 3rd.

We are in denial if we think that the problem will just go away with time!

For those who insist, "JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"

Catch them at home. Cut through the platitudes (also known as “talking points” and, sometimes, crap). Give them a piece of your mind.

To be most effective, call and set up an appointment to share your convictions; if you can't do that, contact their office to voice your concerns; and, if that's not possible, sent an email (*)

Urge them to pass a good child nutrition bill that improves access to healthy food and doesn't cut SNAP benefits.

The central message, as it has been all along is, don't just pass (or punt) the ball, run with it as if time is about to expire (which, in reality, it did today).

For those who plead, "GIVE ME MORE DETAILS"

As hunger is the most severe and tragic expression of poverty, excerpts from “eliminating hunger in the U.S.” (**) offer perspective:

  • Solving this problem is essential because the damage is so great. Maternal under nutrition increases the risk of certain birth defects and contributes to low infant birth weight.
  • Food insecurity among very young children can cause stunted growth, iron deficiency anemia and delayed cognitive development.
  • Food insecurity harms children's physical growth and immune systems, causes weakened resistance to infection, and in both early childhood and the school years means that children lag their peers and learn less, and these learning deficits cumulate.
  • Everyone suffers Food insecurity during the adult years means lower productivity, higher rates of hospitalization, and poorer health.
  • And adult hunger also harms children. Often parents do everything they can to protect their children from hunger: the children eat first, and get “enough” to eat (though it may be filling but not an adequate, healthy diet because of resource constraints).

But the parents go hungry to protect the children. The resulting stress and depression harm not only the parents but the children's health and proficiency.


(*) To identify your personal congressional representative, check www.house.gov by putting in your zip code in the box at the upper left hand corner.

(*) Senator George Voinovich. here is his email address and information about how to reach him: http://voinovich.senate.gov/public/index.cfm)

(*) Senator Sherrod Brown. He's committed to reauthorizing Child Nutrition without sacrificing food stamps. Let him know that now is the time to find a way. http://brown.senate.gov/

(**) Eliminating hunger in the U.S. September 17, 2010: USA Today publishes “Hunger in America” editorial insert, with foreword by Jim Weill (pdf) http://frac.org/

Census finds More people in poverty, fewer have health coverage http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100929/NEWS16/9280376

Editorial: As 44 million Americans live in poverty, a crisis grows http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR2010092802356.html

Gap grows between Ohio's rich and poor http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/gap-grows-between-ohios-rich-and-poor-950876.html

Help Needed Now for Growing Number of Children in Poverty: Deborah Weinstein; Coalition on Human Need. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-weinstein/help-needed-now-for-growi_b_743304.html

The Coalition on Human Needs has tables showing 2009 poverty for counties with populations over 65,000 in every state. We are grateful to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for sharing data with comparisons over time for poverty and median income by state:

* Poverty by State and County in 2009, compiled by CHN (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSpov_allcounties2009.pdf)

* Child Poverty by State and County in 2009, compiled by CHN (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSchildpov_allcounties2009.pdf)

* Poverty by State 2007-2009, calculations by CBPP (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACStotalpov_state2007-09.pdf)

* Deep Poverty by State, historical comparisons to 2009, calculations by CBPP (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSDeepPovbyState2000-09.pdf)

* Family Poverty by State 2007-2009, calculations by CBPP (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSfampov_state2007-09.pdf)

* Child Poverty by State 2007-2009, calculations by CBPP (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSchildpov_allcounties2009.pdf)

* Median Income by State 2007-2009, calculations by CBPP (9/28/10) (http://chn.org/pdf/2010/ACSmedincome_state2007-09.pdf)


Hunger Network in Ohio Info

Bob Erickson

HungerNetwork in Ohio
82 East 16th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43201
Phone: 614-424-6203


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