Addressing Hunger as a Social Injustice
In overview, the issue of hunger is actually a problem that poses a negative implication on million of American civilians. Despite these concerns, the federal government regularly conducts initiatives that assist in the provision of food and other imperative basic needs to low income households. Under programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, low-income households have gained the ability to receive food stamps. On the other hand, hunger problems in America do not necessarily arise out of food demand and supply issues. Accordingly, the United States generates more foodstuff than it requires for local consumption. However, the main problem lies in the possession of income that is incapable of purchasing food for households. In this respect, the city of Chicago is affected by the respective problem. Nonetheless, non-profit organizations such as A Just Harvest have assumed the initiative of resolving hunger by primarily assisting children in low-income households via donations.
Scope of Hunger as the Social Injustice
With Chicago as a perfect illustration, the issue of hunger indeed reveals a major gap that exists within the American societal framework. With inequalities largely attributed to income, children living especially in low-income households have been exposed to inefficiencies involving the supply of food. Additionally, medical emergencies pose a significant effect on impoverished families. This is because of considerable expenses derived from seeking out medical care as well as hospital visits. Repairs mainly carried out on vehicles on an immediate basis lessen the capability of a family to supply food (Schwartz-Nobel 37). This is because the issue needs to be mitigated in order for persons to travel to their respective places of work. Even though income may not be established as the key origin of hunger, it assumes a significant role in establishing whether people own the measures needed to supply the necessities to their families as well as themselves.
The overall community in Chicago has been largely affected by issues pertaining to hunger. Feeding America, which is the country’s food bank system, has unveiled numbers that provide a stark illustration of the difficulties that the respective community is experiencing. For instance, over 800000 people residing in Cook County experience food insecurity on a daily basis (“Chicago Must Tackle Child Hunger” 1). This statistic is correspondent to a single person out of six individuals who are rather uncertain of when their consequent meal will be. In addition, 262240 of these persons comprise children, which equals to over 21 percent of the child population within the respective county (“Hunger is a Serious Problem” 2). Over the past ten years, food banks in the U. S. have experienced a considerable surge in the demand for foodstuff. With this specific occurrence, the surge has resulted into a new form of hunger. In this case, children, women, and men of all ages and race have become affected. In addition, both unemployed and employed individuals have been capable of attaining consistent food security.
Hunger poses a negative effect on individuals who are dispossessed and considerably, those who are not necessarily destitute. For instance, over 90 percent of persons assisted by the Food Depository are not homeless (“Hunger is a Serious Problem” 2). This is evident in most neighborhoods affected by the food crisis. Indeed, the situation in Chicago reveals a rather complicated event affecting the city due to issues of hunger. With more than 860000 persons affected by hunger in one of America’s popular and industrious cities, it is difficult to accept the food deficiencies affecting majority of the children, women, and men residing within the city (Maehr 2). For Chicago, two grounds attributed to the impending circumstance comprise the reduction of wages and the increased rates of unemployment (Schlesinger 3). Additionally, issues pertaining to a person’s health have also been established as primary to the hunger situation facing the residents of Chicago overall. Aside from this, the aging demographic in the Chicago population has also been attributed as a major causative factor for the dissemination of hunger problems over Chicago.
On the issue of age, one of the main precursors of hunger comprises age. Chicago witnesses an increasing number of persons aged over 60, depicting nationwide statistics that illustrate a replication in food-deficient senior citizens since the onset of 2001 (“Hunger is a Serious Problem” 3). Due to factors such as the reimbursement of utility bills, mortgage payments, medicinal pressures, and rent, families and persons usually slash their budgets on foodstuff in order to survive. With this, the Greater Chicago Food Depository operates all days throughout the year in order to guarantee that nutritious and healthy food is accessed by every municipality and neighborhood within the county. Since its discovery in 1979, corporations in Chicago as well as city residents have invested considerably within the Food Depository in relation to issues of hunger (“Hunger is a Serious Problem” 5). Such investments have allowed the not-for-profit organization to sustain the Chicago community even in the event that a momentous recession takes place.
Nevertheless, the consistent support provided from every quarter among the respective supporting organizations has enabled the county to respond to hunger issues affecting most households, specifically children. Additionally, some of the programs designed by the federal government have contributed immensely to the facilitation of families and persons living with food insecurity. This is because the significant concerns affecting the city regarding hunger cannot be solved by a single entity. In this case, public and private charities assume a significant role in the provision of foodstuffs to persons affected by the issue. One notable program devised mainly for the public comprises the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Schwartz-Nobel 56). The respective scheme has served considerable purpose in relation to efforts created by the federal government in order to counter the crippling aspects of hunger. Accordingly, the SNAP has been at the country’s forefront protection against hunger.
A Just Harvest: Addressing Hunger in Chicago’s Households
Aside from the endeavors of the public programs implemented for fighting hunger, private schemes also maintain an important role in mitigating the respective issue among most of Chicago’s low-income households. The organization is fully convinced that issues that affect society such as hunger and destitution can be resolved permanently. Based on this notion, the organization maintains an oversight role in the provision of food assistance to households affected by the impending food insecurity affecting the city and the country. Historically, A Just Harvest, as a not-for-profit organization, embarked on feeding hungry persons in the early 1980s. Since then, the religious organization has been dedicated towards feeding the hungry by establishing partnerships with over 30 congregations as well as community-based organizations (A Just Harvest). Moreover, a Just Harvest has augmented its dinner service by ensuring that it provides food to the hungry for each day of the week.
Currently, the organization is providing more individuals with food than previously documented. Factually, several Americans have continued to suffer from the repressive effects of poverty and hunger since the organization’s inception in 1983 (A Just Harvest). Increasing unemployment as well as serious underemployment, increase in less-paying and temporary occupations, manufacturing losses, the loss of living-wage sectors, and numerous public policies have contributed to the reinforcement of the hunger trend. Recently, the Christian organization has been involved in addressing the main factors that contribute to the spread of poverty and hunger via economic progression projects and community organization schemes. Most of the work and obligations carried out by the respective organization has consistently involved donors and volunteers who readily participate in assisting individuals affected by the factors of poverty and hunger.
A Just Harvest has established a triad of strategies for addressing the issue of hunger affecting many Chicago residents. The first measure involves the occasional feeding of the hungry. Through initiatives such as the Community Kitchen, the organization has been capable of providing nutritious dinners annually specifically for individuals in need. Additionally, the Community Kitchen has supplied over tens of thousands of foodstuff to people and families yearly (A Just Harvest). Furthermore, the organization has supplemented the dietary demands of children during recesses and after school. Another strategy applied by the organization is rather economic-based. With the program, Northside P.O.W.E.R., the organization has involved itself in training leaders and arranging communities for purposes of achieving public policies, which lessen hunger and poverty (A Just Harvest). Lastly, a Just Harvest has been involved in the establishment of endeavors dedicated towards the development of fair economic opportunities. Such prospects, with reference to the Genesis Project, have amassed resources and societal assets for purposes of establishing development opportunities (A Just Harvest).
In conclusion, A Just Harvest is one of the many organizations involved in the alleviation of hunger and poverty in the city of Chicago. Based on the different factors leading to the spread of hunger within the county and the nation as well, different organizations have also expressed involvement in remedying the redundant issue. For instance, companies such as Hillshire Brands have been dedicated to the mission by assisting children, specifically those from low-income households in receiving foodstuff on a daily basis. Additionally, other organizations have established economic facilities such as micro lending institutions that allow members from low-income households to receive the funds required to purchase food.
A Just Harvest. A Just Harvest: Breaking Bread, Ending Hunger. A Just Harvest, n. d. Web. 27 May 2015. <http://www.ajustharvest.org/>
Maehr, Kate. “Hunger is a Serious Problem, but Solutions are Within Reach.” Chicago Business. 10 Jun. 2013. Web. 27 May 2015. <http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130610/OPINION/130609816/hunger-is-a-serious-problem-but-solutions-are-within-reach/>
Maehr, Kate. “Outside Opinion: Chicago Must Tackle Child Hunger.” Chicago Tribune. 5 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 May 2015. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-05/business/ct-biz-0105-oo-maehr-20140105_1_child-hunger-hungry-children-food-insecure-children/>
Schlesinger, Regine. “Survey: Homelessness, Hunger Rose in Chicago in 2013.” CBS Chicago. 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 May 2015. <http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/12/11/survey-homelessness-hunger-rose-in-chicago-in-2013/>
Schwartz-Nobel, Loretta. Growing Up Empty: The Hunger Epidemic in America. New York: HarperCollins, 2014. Print.