Friday, September 02, 2016

Feeding America and its hunger statistics

Just saw an ad on TV by Feeding America about hungry children. Feeding America is a United States-based non-profit organization that is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies. Most of these are run by churches and their volunteers and donors. (According to FA website its $2 billion budget is through donations--CEO earns over $600,000/yr.) They do good work, but its ads about 16 million hungry children is most likely an exaggeration.  The federal government doesn't even use the term "hunger;"  it is called "food insecurity," and if mom was in a drug induced stupor or mentally ill and didn't pull a can of pop or chips out of the cupboard twice in 6 weeks, that's called "food insecurity." 

In the USA we don't have hunger, we have bad parenting and dysfunctional families that begin with babies before marriage. Marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 82%. We have foundations and state grant programs tripping over each other to help. We have 123 wealth transfer programs in the federal government to address the problems of low income and poor, everything from housing support to earned income tax credits, to special pre-schools, to special feeding programs for infants, to Medicaid, to clinics for women, to home heating plans, to job training. If there is a hungry child, statistically he sits in front of a flat screen HDTV with video games in an air conditioned home, Mom has a frig, microwave and dishwasher in the kitchen, a cell phone, and probably car in the drive way. But his "poverty" is supporting an enormous number of social workers, academics and non-profit employees through grants that come to his state, then his city, then the non-profit or church, and finally it trickles down to him.

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