Definitions – (words we wish we didn’t have to use)
Hunger is the “uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food; the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food.” Hunger is defined as :a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient; an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food, a weakened condition brought about by prolonged lack of food. m-w.com
Food Insecure means that a person is unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Feeding America
The latest statistics from Feeding America state that:
- In 2015, 13.4% of the population in the United States was food insecure.
- In 2015, 15.9 % of the population or 16,120 people in Monongalia County was food insecure. This represents an increase of 840 individuals from the previous year.
- In 2015, 16.0 % or 2,600 children in Monongalia County was food insecure. This represents a decrease of 60 children from the previous year.
The nutritional services coordinator for the Monongalia County School system states:
- 40% or 4,615 of all Monongalia County students qualify for free or reduced priced meals.
- High rates of food insecurity were in the following elementary/middle schools during the 2016-2017 academic year:
60.59 % of the students at Skyview Elementary School
57.98% of the students at Mylan Park Elementary School
52.41% of the students at Westwood Middle School
50.30% of the students at Mason Dixon Elementary School
Hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Many Americans are one job loss or medical crisis away from food insecurity – but some people, including children and seniors, may be at greater risk of hunger than others.
A child’s chance for a bright tomorrow starts with getting enough healthy food to eat today. But 40% of all Monongalia County students qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Kids who don’t get enough to eat – especially during their first three years – begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. And as they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat, are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.
Senior hunger poses unique challenges. The rate of hunger among seniors aged 60 and older has increased by 685 since 2001, a lingering effect of the 2008-09 recession. Many senior households have to choose between food and medical care and many include an adult of the age 50 or older with a chronic health condition, including diabetes and high blood pressure – conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food options. Feeding America