An article in the most recent issue of National Geographic details the remarkable extent to which food insecurity, in terms of both sheer numbers and demographic reach, pervades modern day America.
Through a series of photos and anecdotes, The New Face of Hunger shows how lacking consistent access to nutritionally adequate and safe food affects not only families living in urban neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty, but also those who live in sprawling, car-centric suburbs and in rural agricultural centers. The piece explores how these families from vastly different backgrounds often struggle to find their next meal despite possessing one or more income earners among their members. It explains that these families are not exceptions among the ranks of America’s hungry, but the rule: two-thirds of food insecure families have at least one working adult, most of whom are employed full-time. The article goes on to cite declining wages, coupled with recent cuts to safety net benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the primary causes of today’s widespread food insecurity, which now affects every one in six Americans.
We are all too familiar with this problem in the District of Columbia, which has a higher rate of food insecurity among households with children than any state in the country. Many of the people who come to Legal Aid for help struggle to feed themselves and their families, and are forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying their rent, utilities, or for other necessities. We encourage you to take a moment both to read The New Face of Hunger and to take a look at the compelling photography that accompanies the piece. It provides a unique window into the lives of those who, like many of Legal Aid’s clients, face incredibly difficult decisions that no one should have to make.
Image Credits: Slider images 1 and 2, by Amy Toensing via National Geographic Magazine; slider images 3 and 4, by Kitra Cahana via National Geographic Magazine; and slider imagines 5 and 6, by Stephanie Sinclair via National Geographic Magazine.