S. On the one hand, this has been a continuous process. "it is currently estimated that 31 million people live in food insecure households, meaning that at some time during the previous year, they were unable to acquire of were uncertain of having enough food to meet basic needs due to inadequate household resources." (Siefert et al.171) There are additional figures that indicate "poverty on the rise -- the United States experienced the biggest jump in poverty in a decade in 2001, to nearly 12% of the population" (Lieberman 17) Considering these two aspects, food insecurity is strictly related to poverty as a general trend, which in turn is a result of a mismanagement of federal authority.
Hunger tends to affect all the segments of the population. In this way, it weakens the systemic organization of the society. Because the family is considered to be the nucleus in every society, it is only natural that children and the elderly, that is those that are unable to provide for themselves, are the categories most vulnerable to food related shortages. It is important to consider the negative psychological effect this type of experience has on young adults when they see their parents incapable of supporting a family despite the fact that "about one third of the adults between the ages of 18 and 65 needing emergency food aid are employed. Thirty six percent of all families seeking assistance reported that at least one family member was working." (Policy & Practice of Public Human Services 2006) Therefore, from this perspective, it is clear to see that although employment offers a certain financial guarantee, a low income does not insure all the necessities of life.
The American society has a long tradition of discriminatory behavior. Therefore, the current situation offers a new sign of involuntary discrimination. Due to the different circumstances that have shapes the society throughout time, hunger also tends to manifest in some segments of the society more than in others. Thus, "food security varies considerably by race / ethnicity; while only 7% of non-Hispanic white households in t he U.S. reported food insecurity in 1999, 20.8% of Hispanic households and 32.3 [percent of non-Hispanics black households were food unsecure. Thus, we can say that due to economic and commercial circumstances the American society is yet again viewed as a bastion of discrimination, this in turn most often give an interesting image of the society.
Hunger should express indeed a serious concern for the entire community, whether talks are held at the level of authorities or that of the mere citizens. This is an imperative issue because it tends to be increasingly present in our everyday lives. Whether people agree to it or not, the society developed a system that enabled it to adapt. The most obvious proof are the shelters, soup kitchens and emergency food aid units that represent a system "now entrenched in nearly every city and town." Lieberman underlines in this sense that the actual spread of such aid facilities "represents a fundamental failure of government to adequately feed its citizens" therefore a policy failure. (Lieberman 19)
There are solutions that could represent a proper answer to the key issued raised by this flagellum. They should focus however on exactly the targeted decision making authorities and their possible role in tackling the problem. Thus, what action would be undergone, it should be taken by the state authorities, the civic society, and finally the public opinion.
Generally speaking, hunger was considered to be most of the times the result of a crisis of production. Therefore, the solution applied by the government represented an adjustment in the production scheme. (Egendorf 161) in the current case however, a different set of measures must be taken in order to ensure the necessary funds rather than an increased quantity of goods.
There are measures taken at the level of the federal government; these must address the core issues of the problem, which is the lack of money. On the one hand, it must increase welfare and food stamps benefits and modify the eligibility requirements. The Food and Nutrition Service is a well-established framework for the authorities to work and help those in need. Its record shows that "it provides Federal...
(...) the mission is to increase food security, reduce hunger and improve health outcomes in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low income people access to nutritious food and education that inspires public confidence and support." (Egendorf 164) However, this requires an important interventionist policy and there are those that would argue such a measure would backfire. Some argue that a stronger social support would create the impression of a truly assisted state, which comes in contradiction with free competition and the principles of the market economy. Others suggest that lowering the bar for assessment of eligibility can also lead to an abuse of such funds, as there are children that although have families that do not qualify for food assistance, still benefit from it.
Another measure includes restoring of free and low price meal programs to the schools. On this point though, there could also be an argument suggesting that, as there are those that abusively take advantage of the state's help, so too, there are those that because of the excessive red tape, fail to profit from it.
Seeing the discriminate situation in the society, there is a need for specific action to be taken to expand the nutrition program for women, infants, and children, as well as the elderly. Indeed, women, children, and the elderly are limited in their abilities to earn money in order to support them and to have more money for food and a balanced alimentation. Offering more meals to the elderly is another step in improving their condition. Because of their limited physical capabilities, it is important to consider supporting them on a systematic basis, taking into consideration the fact that they too are a less privileged segment of the society.
Another force that could prove to be essential in the fight against hunger in America is the NGO segment. Their most important task would be to coordinate the activities involving the collecting of food, its storage, and subsequent distribution. They can, at the same time insure that there are enough provisions and stocks in soup kitchens, food pantries, and emergency shelters.
A new element in the social policy of the Bush Administration is represented by the so-called friar-based organizations that "have played an important role in raising community awareness about program services, assisting individuals who apply for benefits, and delivering benefits." (Egendorf 166)Thus, they constitute the connection between the public administration and the actual people that must benefit from the resources available from the federal government. From this point-of-view, they are essential intermediary forces
Finally, the public opinion is a major factor in the overall battle against hunger. In most cases, it affects us to a certain degree, because either we are faced with the problem upfront, and thus are directly involved, or we hear about it in the media, in which case it is an impersonal experience. Nonetheless, as human beings, it is impossible to remain a passive by stander in the view of others' physical and emotional suffering. Therefore, indirectly, we are all influenced by the tragic images of people standing in line for a loaf of bread and a vegetable soup. Moreover, people who feel helplessness and inability to secure their family a decent and constant meal are most often emotionally damaged. It is therefore hard to remain passive to such human tragedy. Taking this into account, the public opinion must be made more aware of the situation of such people and be encouraged to give either financial contributions or food or other items that could be of use to the poor.
Overall, poverty is the root cause of hunger in America, and it ultimately leads to illnesses. Measures that could be taken in order to improve their condition include reducing the expensive additional costs of living, such as medical care, rent, bills and other utilities that are most of the times more expensive that food; increasing the funds for the medical care agencies that provide assistance for the poor to enable those with limited and insufficient outcomes to reduce their contribution to the medical system and to allocate more money for food.
In this case, it is important that the entire community, be it the Government, the civil society or the simple people, react at unison and intervene, through every means available, to improve the condition of this unprivileged segment of the society.
25 Million Depend on Emergency Food Assistance." Policy & Practice of Public Human
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