Our View: Food insecurity a problem we can solve

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sunday marked the start of Hunger Action Month 2019 in the U.S. Talking about hunger is important because many people still hold misinformed views about what hanger is and who it affects.

Hunger is not a problem limited to third-world countries; it affects thousands right here in central Kentucky. It probably affects one or more of the neighbors living on your street.

Kentucky’s overall food-insecurity rate is 15 percent, which means more than one out of every seven Kentuckians struggles to know where their next meal will come from — or if they will get a meal at all.

Email newsletter signup

Children are more likely to deal with hunger than any other group in the country, according to Feeding Kentucky. That’s despite federal programs like Women, Infants and Children, and locally funded backpack food programs that aim to provide food for impoverished kids.

More than one in six Kentucky kids is food-insecure. That means there’s probably at least four food-insecure kids in your child’s classroom. Maybe your child is one of them.

Adults ages 50-59 in Kentucky are also at higher risk of being food-insecure. Feeding Kentucky says more than 18 percent of those adults are food-insecure.

The food-insecurity rate is lower for adults over 60 — 8.4 percent. But that’s still about one out of every 12 senior citizens.

In Clark County alone, there are 4,830 food-insecure people. It would take about $2.26 million to fill the food-budget gap, according to Map the Meal Gap 2019 from Feeding America.

We aren’t sharing these stats just to make you sad. We are sharing them because while hunger is a big problem, it is also a problem that can be solved.

“If we work together as a commonwealth, we can end hunger,” said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of Feeding Kentucky, in a news release about Hunger Action Month.

One example of working together will culminate on Sept. 12 — the second Thursday in the month — when Feeding Kentucky hopes people around the state will coordinate 700 actions to end hunger on “Hunger Action Day.”

An action might be donating, or volunteering, even just raising others’ awareness about food insecurity as a problem.

We think Kentucky can go well beyond 700 actions; it ought to be pretty easy for Kentuckians to take 7,000 actions that day.

We should all be planning ahead — setting reminders on our calendars, getting our checkbooks ready, reading up on food insecurity — to make Hunger Action Day a truly remarkable event.

We may not solve food insecurity this year or next, but if we make a dent today, another dent tomorrow, and keep pushing to make things better little by little, we will eventually succeed.

For more information about Hunger Action Month, visit feedingky.org or hungeractionmonth.org.