Hunger in America is much more common than people often think. In fact, one in every six citizens are hungry— that number equates to 49 million people in total. Most are food insecure, concerned about where their next meal will come from, even if it is only at some points throughout the year.
This amount seems enormous considering the fact that Americans get rid of 150,000 tons of food each day for a variety of reasons. In total, 40 percent of groceries in the U.S. go to waste over the course of a year.
Most of the time, food is wasted because people misunderstand the recommended “sell by” or “use by” date. Some food is still good after the date that is listed, although it may have a bit of a different taste or texture.
Upper-class and upper-middle-class individuals are the most likely to trash food because it is not a financial strain to replace the item. Fruits and vegetables are wasted most often, followed by dairy products.
Because there is not just one cause of hunger, there is not just one solution. Hunger in America is clearly an issue that seems as though it should be relatively easy to solve considering how much food is trashed annually.
It starts with small changes— using reward points from banks and cards to donate to charities, using coupons to save money in order to purchase a few cans of soup to donate and spreading awareness of the issue.
Large companies should strive to donate all possible unused food at the end of each business day or host charity events. If someone knows they will not eat something that they have purchased, they should seek to donate it to someone who is in need.
Companies should also consider providing their workers with meals for the duration of the work period as part of their normal compensation. Not only would this ensure that employees were not working on an empty stomach, but it would boost morale and community within the workplace itself due to the increased interaction between employees.
Baker students should seek to take advantage of the opportunities available on campus and throughout Baldwin to help the less fortunate. Poverty affects every community, and ours is no different, as 12.6 percent of Baldwin citizens experience poverty according to Data USA, suggesting food insecurity and hunger are issues as well.
National programming is necessary in order to fight the country’s hunger problem today and should have adequate funding allocated in its direction. However, with cooperation between citizens, companies and stores America may be able to come up with a better solution to ensure its citizens do not go hungry.
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