Email conversations about "ending hunger in Ohio through changing conditions which cause poverty"
||Advocates for reducing hunger
||Hunger Network in Ohio
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
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!
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).
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
- 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
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:
(*) 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
(**) Eliminating hunger in the U.S. September 17, 2010: USA Today publishes
“Hunger in America” editorial insert, with foreword by Jim Weill (pdf)
Census finds More people in poverty, fewer have health coverage
Editorial: As 44 million Americans live in poverty, a crisis grows
Gap grows between Ohio's rich and poor
Help Needed Now for Growing Number of Children in Poverty: Deborah Weinstein;
Coalition on Human Need.
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
* 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)