Hunger is complex and often misunderstood. In the US hunger does not fundamentally result from food shortages or the personal choices of hungry people. Hunger in America is about poverty and the social forces that create and sustain it. The United States is the wealthiest country in world history, and yet today there are millions of Americans who are poor and hungry. In a country of such plenty, the persistence of hunger and poverty is a political choice.
People in poverty are not usually poor because of something they did or did not do. Most people in poverty have been forced there by health, age, family circumstance, cultural barriers, inadequate education, or low-wage skills. Once poor, many people lose their political and social voice: focusing their energies instead on the struggles of just surviving. The poor are often forgotten by the public, ignored by politicians, and blamed by the self-righteous.
The persistence of poverty and hunger in America is a political choice: the fruit of our political, economic, and social systems. We have the power to change these systems, end poverty, and abolish hunger, but it will take more then charity to do this. Fundamental change requires political and economic reform.
To end poverty and hunger in America we must stop skewing our policies to benefit the elite. Extravagant corporate subsidies, excessive military spending, and tax breaks for the rich must be replaced by real and effective social safety nets, affordable healthcare, and good education for all.
Food banks, homeless shelters, and other private charities are critically needed stop-gaps in a society with millions at risk of hunger, but they are not designed to change the fundamentals. Hunger and poverty are political choices, and with political reform they can be ended.
Get involved with the movement to create a new America, where no one must go hungry, and where the government is focused on serving the people who need it most. Hunger is not just about food, it is about justice and power, and together we have the power to do something about it.
Read a summary of recent reports on hunger and food insecurity in Pennsylvania.
If you want to know more about poverty and hunger, visit one of our partner advocacy agenies:
If you want to help alleviate the day-to-day pains of hunger in our community, learn how to get involved by visiting our sister agency here in Allegheny County: