Sep. 24—In Kentucky, 575,300 people are facing hunger— one in five children don't have food security according to reports from Feeding America.
In September, Feeding America is encouraging people to take action to fight hunger in America for Hunger Action Month.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that more than 34 million are struggle with food insecurity, nine million of those being children.
Hunger and food insecurity can be particularly devastating for children, not having enough healthy food can have serious consequences on a child's physical and mental health according Feeding America. This can result in negative implications on that child's academic achievement and future economic prosperity.
Research by the CDC exhibited the correlation between food insecurity and delayed development in young children, rick of chronic illnesses, and behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiety and aggression in school age children.
The best way to take action against hunger is to bring awareness and advocate for the 1 in 8 Kentuckians that are afflicted by unreliable access to food. More importantly, volunteer and make donations of canned goods and other pantry items to your local food banks, soup kitchens and non-profit organizations.
Many are taking strides to fight hunger and participating in Hunger Action Month by running their own fundraiser and collecting donations. Feeding America is encouraging individuals partake advocating for those in need as well as providing resources to help see how you can support the community.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has helped significantly with the hunger epidemic. Charitable programs do not have the resources to fully support food security to all that need it, the combination of charity and government assistance programs are necessary to help bridge the meal gap.
SNAP dollars provide temporary support to help those going through difficult times by providing supplemental money to purchase food until they can get back on their feet.
40.6% of households that receive SNAP dollars have children in Kentucky.
Thanks to Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, and those at the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture (KDA) huge strides have been made to fight hunger and malnutrition in the Bluegrass. Those struggling with healthy food options and food security can use SNAP at local farmer's markets therefore providing families with affordable and healthy options to provide nutrient food to these households.
In the Hunger in America study, conducted by Feeding America advised some eye opening statistics about the difficult decisions households with limited resources had to make:
* 69% had to choose between food and utilities
* 67% had to choose between food and transportation
* 66% had to choose between food and medical care
* 57% had to choose between food and housing
* 31% had to choose between food and education
The study also reported ways these lower income families has to stretch their food budget or work to supplement it: 79% purchase inexpensive and unhealthy food, over 50% had to receive help from friends and family, 40% water down food and drinks and 35% sell and pawn their personal property.
For more information about Hunger Action month, food insecurity, and ways to help, please visit: www.feedingamerica.org.