Why a Food Drive in Austin?

By Dimity Short
18 Jun 2011

It is literally unbelievable, to think that in the 21st century hunger continues to be the number one risk to health worldwide. Well... it's true, according to the World Health Organisation. Not cancer, not heart disease, not even AIDS, but hunger. More people die each year from hunger and hunger related diseases than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Every day around 25,000 people die from the "epidemic" - one every 3.5 seconds.

The mistake of thinking that this hunger crisis is only taking affect in far off developing nations must not be made. The US Census Bureau reports that 14.3% of America's population or around 43 million people are living in poverty and therefore regularly face hunger. In Texas however, that percentage is even higher at 17.1%. Higher again is the percentage in Austin - 18.4% of the city's residents live in poverty. As alarming as these numbers are, they are expected to rise over the coming years as the full impact of the economic downturn is taken into account.

Austin is home to the Capital Area Food Bank. Around 48,000 different people receive emergency food assistance from them in any given week. CAFB provides some disquieting statistics regarding their clients: More than a third of CAFB's older clients go for extended periods without food. 1 in 5 families served by CAFB experience the physical pain of hunger. Almost half of the families CAFB serves have to choose between bu ying food and paying utilities. 82% of CAFB clients are not homeless - they literally just cannot make ends meet.

Unfortunate but not unusual is the fact that children are at the forefront of those most affected by the food crisis in Austin and the rest of Texas state. Child poverty, particularly among young children, is significantly higher in Texas than in the nation as a whole. 24.3% of children in Texas are currently experiencing food insecurity, according to Feeding America. That equates to around 1 in 4 Texans less than 18 years of age - 1.6 million children - that don't have access to the foods that they need to lead active, healthy lives. The percentage for children under 5 years of age is scarily higher at 28%. These statistics place Texas as having one of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the nation. The rate of childhood hunger in Texas rose over 2 percentage points from 2008 to 2009, meaning in one year the state became home to 163,525 more hungry children. In Austin alone, 41,000 children under the age of 18 are confronted daily with food insecurity.

While it's impossible to deny there's a problem, the good news is that lots of us can do something to be a part of the answer. There are many great food banks and other hunger-relief programs within Austin and state-wide. Most, if not all of them, could not do what they do without the support of volunteers; people who are committed to pursuing a hunger-free community. Why not contact your local food bank or hunger-relief program today to see what you can do to help. ... And if you are joining Hillsong UNITED tonight, why not worship with your voice AND YOU ACTIONS by bringing along some nonperishable food to go to the good folk of Austin that need it most. 



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Re: Why a Food Drive in Austin?

Seriously, I love reading these blogs...always shocks me the datas showed. This "struggle for food" in Usa families, in 21th century..I don´t get it. It´s so commom to think; USA? oh! it´s fine, it´s all good. So IMPORTANT that I-Heart shows us the reality going on peoples lives. xx

18 Jun 2011 by Greice Moura

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Re: Why a Food Drive in Austin?

It's amazing how something so normal to our everyday can be such a luxury to others...

22 Jun 2011 by Alina Verbois // United States

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