Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Feeding America's hungry children

 This charity, Feeding America, suggests donating to them because hungry children can't learn, but 13 million U.S. children get free or reduced cost breakfasts at school, free or reduced cost lunches, and free after school snacks, and special plans for summer time and camps through USDA programs. If you read through Feeding America's programs, none seem to be about breakfast at school.

FA is now 35 years old, a charity (2nd Harvest) begun by one person to distribute food surpluses. However, the government's definition of hunger has expanded and is now "food insecurity," not hunger, and all the programs, both government and charities, have expanded. Low income households are not dumb about their resources. As food programs expand, those households factor that into their budgets, leaving more cash for non-food items such as rent, utilities, clothing, alcohol, cigarettes, gasoline, cell phone contracts, etc. Studies show that even with the lowest unemployment rate since the early 1970s, food pantries are still an important resource for many households, some increasing their visits from occasional to regular.

Although the recession ended in June 2009, participation in SNAP, the government's largest low income food program, has never returned to pre-2008 levels, in part because people were recruited to participate with expanded ARRA money. Yes, it sounds heartless to question why so many people remain on government and charity food programs when we have 123 transfer of wealth programs to assist, however, some questions need to be asked about why parents are not using their resources to feed their children.  A low income family with children can receive about $400/month in just SNAP benefits, plus access to USDA programs at school and church food pantries. And yes, a family can eat very well using just SNAP--there's a cook book on line.


No comments: