In the U.S. today 49 million people face hunger — that’s one in six. This rate of hunger is holding steady at an all-time high thanks in part to the recent recession. Although most of the country has been on the upswing, recovery for those in the direst economic circumstances has been slow. Lines at food pantries across the U.S. are long and they show no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Weighing the side effects

"Children who receive the right nutrition from birth to age two go on to earn 21 percent more than children who do not and are more likely as adults to have healthier families."

While hunger is harmful to anyone, its affects are especially devastating to children. Inadequate nutrition during early years is detrimental to a child’s long-term physical and emotional health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. In fact, children who receive the right nutrition from birth to age two go on to earn 21 percent more than children who do not and are more likely as adults to have healthier families.

Proactive solutions

Feeding America is dedicated to providing all children in the U.S. with the food they need to thrive. To do this, we have developed targeted child-hunger programs to reach children where they are and when they need food the most. Since many children from low-income families receive free or reduced school breakfast and lunch, Feeding America helps feed children and their families after school, on the weekends and during holidays and summer break. For example, through our BackPack program, kids take home backpacks of food on Fridays so that the whole family has access to nutritious food throughout the weekend. Additionally, Feeding America sponsors free summer food programs in low-income communities to ensure children receive lunch even when school is out.

When media bombards us with traditional tales of hunger and poverty abroad, it’s easy to forget that both are also problems close to home. With one in six people facing hunger, your neighbor, classmate or even coworker could be struggling to feed their family. We believe that it doesn’t have to be like this; we believe hunger is solvable if we all do our part. By working together, we can solve hunger in America, and ensure no child in our nation goes to bed hungry again.