Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Hunger a Taboo Subject?

Cabbage from the San Francisco Food Bank
Hunger ChallengeThe first year I participated in the Hunger Challenge, one of my commenters basically said that anyone who was hungry in this country was lazy. I was also told by a blogger that she wouldn't participate in the Challenge because it was her personal goal to support organic farmers and the Hunger Challenge just encouraged support of an already broken food system. In subsequent years I have heard that hunger is a bigger issue in other parts of the world, and that childhood obesity is the real problem we should be focused on.

The goal of the Hunger Campaign is to raise awareness about hunger in the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants in the Challenge live on the same budget a food stamp recipient would receive, a paltry $4.72 a day. But somehow, I find many people I tell about the Challenge don't want to hear about that. They'd rather focus on something else. All those other issues - politics, sustainable food systems, organics, world hunger and even childhood obesity get way more attention in the media than local hunger. Yes. I said local hunger.

Here in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Food Bank, 197,000 people struggle to feed themselves and their families. In Marin, just over 40,000 people - or 16% of the population - face the same problem. 
I find it shocking that in a community as rich as ours (San Francisco and Marin), 237,000 people live at or below 185% of the federal poverty line ($33,873 per year for a family of three). While children or families may be eligible for aid at that level, even with assistance it can be very challenging to provide enough food to consistently nourish themselves.

Won't you think about what you can do help alleviate hunger in your community?


♥ Take the Hunger Challenge yourself. Sign up here.

♥ Read blogs by people taking the Hunger Challenge. There's a blogroll here.

♥ Follow the Hunger Challengers on Twitter. There's a listing here, or search for the hashtag #HungerChallenge.

♥ Learn more about the San Francisco Food Bank - and make a donation. For every $1 donated the food bank can supply hungry people with $6 worth of food!

♥ Follow the San Francisco Food Bank on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to see how they're fighting hunger every day.