Challenge your perceptions about the face of hunger

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Among the many reports that come across my desk, I was struck by the recent Hunger in America study published by Feeding America, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to fighting hunger. In this study, they highlighted four varying faces of hunger in America and how they may differ from commonly held perceptions.

The first example is an eight-year-old girl whose parents work, but still have trouble putting food on the table. Over 12 million children in the United States fit this description and 74 percent of the Feeding America network households have to make choices between higher priced nutritionally rich foods and lower priced processed foods.

In another example, we meet a mother who has gone back to school with a husband who has just lost his job. One minute they are planning a bright future and the next they are faced with a decision of whether to buy food or higher education.

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The third example is of a 52-year-old male with a minimum wage job and diabetes. Sixty-six percent of households served by Feeding America are forced to decide whether to pay rent, buy food, or pay medical expenses.

The final snapshot is of a retired grandfather; a veteran on a fixed income living below the poverty line. Like 69 percent of Feeding America households, he must choose each month between buying food and paying the utility bill.

These are just four examples of the 46 million people served by Feeding America, regional food banks, partner agencies, and volunteers each year. They aren’t faceless numbers in a crowd; they are your neighbors, your classmates, and your friends. Many are faced with difficult circumstances not of their own making and they need not judgement, but compassion and support.

Outreach is a proud member of the Feeding America network of providers that continues to support the mission of ending hunger in America. Along with our regional partner, MANNA Foodbank in Asheville, we make every effort to improve the quantity and quality of food in our pantry.

As such, we have partnered with Groundswell International and the Mill Spring Agricultural Center to expand the garden here at Outreach. Please consider joining us on Saturday, May 21 for a “perma-blitz” garden planting session. Or, if you would like to learn more about our mission, please visit us online at or at our 25th anniversary open house on Friday, June 3.

– Submitted by George Alley