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When you think of hunger and poverty, where does your mind immediately flash? Most charities, humanitarians and philanthropists focus on foreign nations where 925 million people were hungry and 14 billion people were living in extreme poverty in 2005. Thus, the ads you see highlight the problem in these areas.

While I acknowledge this is a staggering and terrible statistic, there were 46.2 million people – roughly 15 percent or 1 in 6 of all Americans – who went hungry due to ongoing poverty in 2011. Sadly, this included 16.1 million children.

However, the hunger and poverty problem in America is largely ignored, and it’s time to put a halt to that. Sir Thomas Browne said it best in 1642, “Charity begins at home.”

We. What a small but powerful word. …Let’s use that force to eradicate hunger from the wealthiest nation in the world.

Clearly tackling a problem this large is too much for one person regardless of his wealth or even an organization or the government. Working together we have the power to do it.

Take canned foods and other non-perishables to your regional food banks regularly. This will help those in need in your local community. Take extra clothes, especially coats and shoes, and blankets to homeless shelters or the Salvation Army.

If you’re concerned with your own community, do not make donations over the phone. Often, like in the case of the Salvation Army and the state patrol, the funds go to the state and are divided. Take donations directly to local offices.

Organizations need help year round not just at Christmas. Be charitable all year.

Resist making donations directly to homeless people. Sadly, there are some people who use this as a scam or for drugs and your money is not helping anyone. Instead encourage them to use available social services.

Child Eating Healthy

Organizations like Feeding America work with corporations and donors like you to provide meals nationally. The largest hunger-relief charity in the U.S., Give A Meal provides eight meals for just a dollar from each private donor. Visit Feeding America for more information.

We. What a small but powerful word. You, I, the next guy, and so forth working together as one to accomplish a single goal becomes a powerful force. Let’s use that force to eradicate hunger from the wealthiest nation in the world.

Sources:

Bread for the World

Report “Household Food Security in the United States, 2010” Published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011, From Tables 1 A&B

Feeding America

Foreign picture from the Theology Library at Spring Hill College website

FYI: THIS PROBLEM & SIMILAR STATISTICS PRECEDE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION. Please don’t turn this into an election year argument.

Add your ideas in the comments for helping the hungry in your community, state or our nation.

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