U.S. hunger could be reduced by 50 percent in 10 years, report says
By Derrick Cain
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 - Hunger and poverty in the United States could be reduced by 50 percent in 10 years, according to a report released today by the Bread for the World Institute.
The report, “Ending Hunger in America,” laid out a plan that includes a jobs agenda, a stronger safety net, human capital development, and public-private partnerships to support community anti-hunger initiatives. It also called on the U.S. government to work with the international community to establish a universal set of global development goals that include a goal to end hunger and achieve global food security and good nutrition for all by 2030.
“If it is possible to reduce hunger in some of the poorest parts of the world, surely the United States can do the same,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “It is time we set goals, develop a plan, and hold our lawmakers accountable.”
Beckmann said it is not only developed countries with living standards similar to those in the United States, such as those in Scandinavia or parts of Western Europe, which have reduced hunger within their borders, but countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have done so as well.
The report said, nearly five years after the Great Recession technically ended, it is “all too easy” to accept as a new normal the idea that tens of millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table.
“But our country has the knowledge and resources not only to reverse the ground lost since 2007, but to make rapid progress toward a hunger-free society,” the report said.
In 2000, the last time the United States had full employment, the household food insecurity rate was 10.5 percent, according to the report. In 2012, it had surged to 14.5 percent.
“This is the world's wealthiest country, and most of us are compassionate, fair-minded people,” the report said. “We should support each other through life's ups and downs and prepare our children to earn a decent living. Sustainable reductions in hunger on the order of 50 percent or more will depend on strengthening the safety net and investing in human capital.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a long-time supporter of nutrition and anti-hunger programs, said the report “lays out several important recommendations and makes clear that we must act to end the scourge that is hunger in America.”
DeLauro said, “My congressional colleagues should take special note of two of the recommendations in particular: increasing the minimum wage and improving [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] outreach.”
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