op 10 Facts About Hunger in Australia
Australia, home to more than 25 million people, is often regarded as a regional power with one of the strongest economies in the world. However, a significant portion of Australia’s population suffers from food insecurity. Many are unable to afford enough food to feed both themselves and their families. Here are the top 10 facts about hunger in Australia to know:

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Australia:

    1. More than four million people in Australia suffer from food insecurity. According to Foodbank Australia’s 2018 Hunger Report, more than four million Australians suffer from food insecurity, approximately 18 percent of the population.
    2. One in five children is hungry in Australia. Foodbank Australia reports that 22 percent of children in Australia suffer from food insecurity, and of that 22 percent, nine percent go at least one day a week without a single meal. Additionally, 29 percent of parents report they go a full day without eating at least once a week so their child has something to eat. In order to fight this, some schools provide breakfast programs. Charities such as Helping Hands provide families with weekly access to fresh food for a small donation.
    3. Women are more likely to suffer from hunger. Often due to living on low incomes or pensions, women are at a higher risk of hunger. Women are 31 percent more likely to suffer from food insecurity than men. Women with low incomes have a 49 percent chance of experiencing food insecurity while the rate for men is 38 percent.
    4. Indigenous Australians suffer disproportionately. Food insecurity affects roughly 30 percent of Indigenous Australians, both in remote and urban areas. In cities, Indigenous Australians often experience low incomes and lack of access to cooking facilities, making them more susceptible. In the country, options for purchasing food are limited. On average, Indigenous Australians spend at least 35 percent more of their income on food than Non-Indigenous Australians. However, the Australian government has worked to fight hunger with its Close the Gap campaign. Close the Gap was established in 2008 and focuses on achieving health equality for Indigenous Australians.
    5. Hunger is a greater issue in remote areas. Australians who live in remote areas are 33 percent more likely to suffer from food insecurity than those in cities. In cities, 17 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity. In remote areas that rate is significantly higher at 22 percent.
    6. Hunger negatively impacts mental health. Of Australians impacted by food insecurity and living in remote areas, 65 percent report feeling stressed, and 60 percent say that their situation makes them feel depressed. Australians living in urban areas report similar feelings: 54 percent report they felt stressed and 48 percent report food insecurity makes them feel depressed. Foodbank Australia found that 42 percent of those who receive aid say it helps improve their mental health and wellbeing.
    7. Australia’s high cost of living contributes to hunger. Wage growth has stagnated in recent years while Australians experience heavy cuts to welfare payments. Electricity prices have simultaneously skyrocketed. Consumer spending has plummeted, as increases in wages are unable to sufficiently match increases in costs. As a result of either an unexpected expense or expensive bills, 49 percent of Australians who suffer from food insecurity report being unable to afford food.
    8. Single-Parent Households are more vulnerable. Food insecurity impacts 39 percent of single-parent households in Australia, meaning they are the household type most likely to be hungry. Nearly two-fifths of all single-parent households struggle to put food on the table compared to 23 percent of single person households and 22 percent of family households with children.
    9. The task of providing food to the hungry is placed into the hands of nonprofits. The Australian government has yet to establish a government program that focuses on fighting food insecurity. Australia’s state welfare agency, Centre, does provide a one-time payment to those in crisis but has yet to establish additional support. Feeding the hungry has been placed in the hands of charities and private donors.
    10. Charities are unable to meet the demand for food. Only 36 percent of charities are able to fully meet the food needs of those they serve. This means 64 percent of food needs are still not being met. Additionally, these statistics do not account for those suffering from food insecurity who have not approached a charity. Furthermore, charities are completely unable to provide for seven percent of those who approach them each month.

These are the top 10 facts about hunger in Australia that illuminate the challenges many Australians face every day. Many factors contribute to food insecurity in the country and all too often put the most vulnerable at risk. However, programs such as Close the Gap and the work of nonprofit organizations illustrate how the country is taking powerful steps to end hunger in Australia.

– Nicholas Bykov 
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in GuamGuam is a small island and a U.S. territory located southeast of Japan with a small population of about 163,000 people. Because of the small population, hunger in Guam has a much higher impact. Thankfully, things are looking up for Guam as rising employment rates and school programs are helping the hunger situation in Guam.

One of the more impactful programs in Guam that is fighting the hunger situation is that all 26 elementary schools in Guam serve meals for free. This free meal plan is provided through the federally funded Community Eligibility Provision grant that is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This program feeds elementary students so they are focused and ready to participate in classes by giving them the nutrition they need. Some middle and high schools are also participating in the free meal program. The First Lady of Guam, Christine Calvo, wants to stamp out child hunger in Guam by expanding this program to all schools.

With unemployment, food insecurity becomes an issue. Food insecurity is when people are without reliable access to affordable or nutritious food. Unfortunately, people need to spend money to eat, and if people are unemployed, they cannot do so.

However, Guam has decreased its unemployment rate quite drastically. From June 2015 to June 2016, the unemployment rate in Guam dropped from 8.7 percent to 3.9 percent, a 55 percent decrease in unemployment. Because of this decrease, food insecurity has become less of an issue and more people know where their next meal is coming from.

Although hunger in Guam used to be a major issue, solutions are being implemented to help those in the country. Implementing free meal programs in schools and decreasing unemployment are important steps to alleviating hunger in Guam. If the free meal program expands to all schools and the unemployment rate continues to drop, hunger could become a thing of the past for the people of Guam.

Daniel Borjas

Photo: Flickr

How Feed Projects Reduces World Hunger
Malnutrition is a devastating reality for 805 million people around the world. Often a result of extreme poverty, hunger makes people more susceptible to illness and disease, stunting mental and physical development. It is the greatest risk to health.

Lauren Bush Lauren founded Feed Projects in 2007 after seeing the negative implications of malnutrition as an Honorary Spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP). During her travels with WFP, Lauren noticed that child hunger was best alleviated by school meals; not every school, however, could provide food for its students.

A free, nutritious school lunch has the power to break the cycle of poverty by making food easily accessible to children. It is Feed’s goal to provide meals for as many undernourished children around the world as possible.

As an online shopping platform, Feed primarily sells totes and bags but produces t-shirts and accessories as well. For every product sold, meals are donated, where the amount of meals provided depends on the price of the product sold. For example, the Feed Kenya bag sells for $250 and provides 370 school meals for children in Kenya. The Feed 1 bag is $80 and provides 185 meals.

All of Feed’s products are made under fair-trade regulations and with environment-safe materials. Additionally, the organization has built professional relationships in Columbia, Guatemala, Haiti, India and Kenya, providing job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods to developing communities.

Feed then sells the artisan-made products and gives meals back to those countries where the products were made. Feed provides food relief in 63 countries in total.

Lauren fully understands that world hunger is solvable and Feed does everything in their power to ensure that children are being fed. By providing meals for children in school, Feed also ensures that kids are attending school and receiving the proper nutrition to perform well. In other words, Feed works to eliminate world hunger and increase global education.

So far, Feed has provided 87,649,628 meals to children around the world. But it does not end there; in addition to school meals, Feed also provides micronutrients, mother-child nutrition, food aid in the U.S., emergency food aid and Vitamin A.

Plus, they encourage childhood education. Feed is working in big ways to eliminate world hunger and alleviate global poverty, bringing nutritious meals to children in need.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: Feed Projects 1, Feed Projects 2
Photo: Google Images

new_zealandThe Tribal Huk gang of Ngaruawahia, in New Zealand, has been working for the last four years to help feed the country’s poor children. Every day, the gang has been making and delivering sandwiches to thirty-one schools in the area and putting food in more than four hundred hungry children’s mouths.

Jamie Pink, the president of the organization, called Kai 4 the Future, knows what it is like to grow up in poverty. As a child, he barely ever had enough food for himself. When he grew to be an adult, he knew he wanted to do something about it. Although he does admit he likes violence, he says he liked helping people even more.

Now, Tribal Huk leases fifty acres of farmland around Horotiu and Ngaruawahia, and owns dozens of beef, sheep and pigs. Some animals are sold to finance the foundation while the rest go in the sandwiches.

In New Zealand, 270,000 children live below the poverty line, according to the country’s Children’s Commissioner. Although the government has implemented a $9.5 million program in the last couple of years to help solve the problem, children remain hungry.

Pink laments that New Zealand has enough water, food and other resources- sheep even outnumber people ten to one- to support their population, but children are still going hungry. He hopes to get government assistance so the gang can make even more sandwiches every day.

He is also hoping to start a new trust in which people donate just $5 a week to the Foundation. If 50,000 people pay this amount for a year, they would collect $30 million – enough to feed every hungry child in the country.

Radhika Singh

Sources: Stuff, RadioNZ
Photo: Stuff

Attending School = Having Food in Egypt
In June 2015, the European Union funded a project for the World Food Programme (WFP) that encourages 100,000 children in Egypt to attend school.

The four-year project, called Enhancing Access of Children to Education and Fighting Child Labour aims to offer children, especially girls, incentives to pursue education.

Fifteen percent of children in Egypt eventually end up working to help support their families. The WFP’s goal of feeding children in Egypt to boost attendance rates involves providing snacks and take-home rations for children who maintain an 80 percent school attendance rate.

The daily in-school snack, date bars, offers valuable vitamins and minerals for students. For most children, the bars are their first meal of the day. The take-home rations of rice and oil equal the value of what children could earn from a month of work.

By using food incentives, WFP hopes to encourage parents to send children to school instead of out to work. In addition, they hope to break the patriarchal idea where young girls are solely expected to stay home and be married.

“The concept they have is the girl is going to get married and stay home, so if they need to get one of their children educated, they’re going to focus on the boys. With our project, we focus on the girls because we feel we are their chance to get an education,” says Amina Al Korey, communications officer for WFP in Egypt.

The girls get first priority registering for the community schools supported by the WFP and supervised by the Egyptian Ministry of Education. Boys can be admitted but only if spots still remain.

Larry Summers, former World Bank chief economist says, “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.”

Girls who attend school will make up to 25 percent more in wages in the future, be healthier and more capable of supporting a family, and could even save malnourished children, simply by being given a secondary education.

Al Korey says, “Whenever I speak to the girls, they’re always just so enthusiastic about actually going to school. They don’t just feel good about getting an education and getting a chance to take a different path.”

WFP also plans to support mothers with income-generating projects, such as breeding goats, making soaps and selling and growing vegetables.

Lubna Alaman, WFP’s representative and county director in Egypt, says, “Through partnerships like this, WFP hopes to make a child’s simplest dream come true.”

At the conclusion of the four-year project, WFP hopes to see more girls excited about pursuing an education and bettering their future.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Takepart, WFP
Photo: Flickr

The childhood hunger epidemic is so severe in Liberia that one child dies of malnourishment every 12 seconds. When Todd Grinnell, Ryan Devlin and Ravi Patel visited Liberia, they were heartbroken by the poverty they encountered. Upon their return, they knew they had to take action. They created a healthy, nutritious fruit and nut bar with the “buy one, give one” mentality that has successfully provided other goods to the unfortunate across the globe.

With the purchase of this new snack, a nutritional bar by the name of “This Bar Saves Lives,” a child in need receives an identical food bar, jam-packed with all of the nutrients required to nurse them back to health. “This Bar Saves Lives” has attracted the attention of A-list celebrities like Kristen Bell. The celebrity endorsement and subsequent promotional video released by Bell has attracted mainstream attention to not only the product but also the horrible reality that is child hunger and malnutrition.

Bell is the latest investor and endorsement the company has received this year. Since its founding, Grinnell, Devlin and Patel have made a variety of appearances at highly publicized events to promote the bar, Comic-Con being one of them. They have also partnered with several companies such as Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, Whole Foods Market, GOOD Inc., Mending Kids International, Kashi Company, The Strongheart Group and Kiss My Face.

Since 2013, 528,940 packets of bars have been sent to children in need. The co-founders of “This Bar Saves Lives” hope that by the end of this year, the company will sell one million bars, giving the helpless around the world another chance at life and nutrition.

Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Look to the Stars, This Bar Saves Lives 1, This Bar Saves Lives 2, This Bar Saves Lives 3
Photo: CNN

In the August/September 2015 issue of AARP The Magazine, Viola Davis of ABC’s hit series, “How to Get Away with Murder,” talks about growing up in poverty and why giving back is important to her.

Now the star of a drama that has 9 million viewers on the edge of their seats, Davis said she is living her dream by just being able to afford a house. “When you grow up poor, you dream of just having a home and a bed that’s clean — that’s a sanctuary,” Davis said.

In her interview with AARP, the actress said that she grew up in a household with five siblings in an old building in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Her mother worked in a factory and her father groomed racehorses. “But grooms don’t make money,” Davis said. “Definitely not enough to feed a family of eight.”

Her family received food stamps that paid for groceries which did not last the entire month. Occasionally, Davis had to resort to garbage dumps for scraps and sometimes she had to steal from a store. When she was caught, she felt so ashamed that she forced herself to stop. Davis then had to count on other means to eat.

“Most of the time, the school lunch was the only meal I had. I would befriend kids whose mothers cooked three meals a day and go to their homes when I could,” Davis said.

The summers were difficult because she did not have school to feed her, but the winters were not much easier. The pipes in the building where she lived sometimes froze over, so the family did not have water to clean with or drink. The furnace broke, and the family would have to use each other’s body heat to stay warm.

Despite her hunger and unstable home life, Davis performed well in school. She and her siblings wanted to make sure they did not live in those conditions in the future.

“School was their haven,” Sara Davidson, AARP The Magazine writer, said. “And they stayed late, participating in sports, music, drama and student government.”

School was not only Davis’ means for nourishment but also where she found her calling. She entered the Upward Bound program, which funded her education at Rhode Island College. After graduating, she attended Juilliard for their drama program.

Continuing in her success, Davis won two Tony awards and later received two Oscar nominations.

Though it seemed as if Davis’ rise to fame was only increasing, she still had her doubts about being cast in a lead role. In her childhood years, she had experienced racism every day.

“People would throw things out of their cars and call us the N-word,” Davis said.

Because of this, she thought she was too dark-skinned to earn a big part in a Hollywood movie. “That notion was upended when, in 2014, she was offered the starring role in How to Get Away with Murder,” Davidson said.

In addition, although Davis was more than pleased with her life as a professional actress, wife and mother, she yearned for something more. She was asked to be the spokesperson for Hunger Is, and now she is dedicated to giving back.

Hunger Is was formed by the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The campaign seeks to end childhood hunger. With her own experience in the matter, Davis gave a touching speech about her childhood struggles. The two non-profits then donated $100,000 to the causes of her choice.

Davis divided this contribution between many organizations in her hometown including Central Falls High School’s Thespian Society.

Helping kids achieve their dreams, or even getting them meals, has brought Davis more happiness than acting. Although she had a difficult childhood, Davis is still looking up.

“There’s buoyancy and lightness in me. I’m not angry about my life. I’m not bitter at all. I’m happy,” Davis said.

To read more about Davis’ interview, visit the AARP website.

– Fallon Lineberger

Sources: AARP, Entertainment Weekly, Hunger Is
Photo: Flickr

Feeding America
As part of a series by the organization Feeding America, “Say No to Summer Hunger” is teaming up with local food banks to serve much-needed summer meals to kids facing hunger.

In an event that was in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Jennie Garth famous from the television show 90210 and actress Samantha Harris served free and nutritious lunches to dozens of kids and teens.

The event was located in a library is located in Los Angeles County, where the number of children living in food-insecure households ranks highest in the nation, with 591,000 children who may not know where they will find their next meal.

“Child hunger exists in communities all across America,” said Garth. “There should be no reason that a child in this country is allowed to go hungry.”

Nationally, upwards of 22 million children rely on free or reduced-priced meals to nourish them during the school year. However, during the summer months, only 2.7 million children have access to free or reduced-price meals through summer feeding programs. This creates a huge deficit in the amount of nutrition these children are receiving during a crucial period of their development.

As Samantha Harris said during the event, “Summer should be spent outside playing with friends, not worrying where or if you will eat lunch that day. Kids need energy, and food is fuel!”

This is why organizations like Feeding America exist: to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network. Having celebrity members spread awareness by using their name, real change can be made, along with hopefully inspiring a call to action from other members of the community.

Feeding America’s “Say No to Summer Hunger” has and will hold events across the country for the duration of the summer months.

Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Look to the Stars, Feeding America, Think Progress
Photo: Look to the Stars

United Kingdom’s Hidden Poor
The United Kingdom is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It boasts Europe’s second biggest economy after Germany. It also has a $2.313 trillion dollar GDP according to the CIA’s 2012 World Fact book website estimations. Given these statistics, the recent announcement that the U.K. suffers from almost untold amounts of deprivation in its society due to both financial and economic insecurities comes as a surprise.

The University of Bristol recently published a report which paints an extremely dark picture of life in the United Kingdom. According to the study, over half of the U.K.’s population is suffering from some type of financial trouble. The study also reported that about 5.5 million adults in the U.K. go without some types of essential clothing; in addition, four million children and adults are not fed properly by today’s standards.

The Trussell Trust, which is the largest provider of food banks in Great Britain, issued a report in which they said more than 350,000 people went to their various food banks for help in the past year, which, according to their figures, is almost triple the number of people that required food aid in 2012.

The Guardian published a report by a charity in the U.K. known as 4Children, which reported more than half of Britain’s poor children reside in homes that are cold or not heated. Also, more than 55 percent of the children surveyed stated that they felt embarrassment over the fact that their family was not well off, and 14 percent had experienced some sort of bullying as a result.

These types of numbers are indeed surprising from one of the richest and most well off countries in the world. The study by the University of Bristol also found that living conditions for the U.K.’s hidden poor have indeed slid backwards. The study showed that one-third of British households could not afford to adequately heat their homes in the winter of 2012 and that the number of homes that could not afford to adequately heat the living areas of their homes is at a record high of nine percent.

There was also an extreme lack of adequate food for children noted in the study. The study noted that over half a million children live in homes that cannot adequately feed them. The Guardian also reported that the “squeezed-middle” families with two children need to earn over $37,000 pounds per year in order to meet what the public deems as the lowest ordinary acceptable living standards.

Great Britain is one of the most wealthy, powerful, and influential countries in the world, but if it does not begin to seriously examine those families who fall through the cracks in the welfare system, the U.K. will begin to suffer the effects. These families are the ones who work but still are unable to make end meet at the end of the month. They are hidden because they do not fall into a definable category and thus get left behind by the welfare state.

 – Arthur Fuller

Sources: Bristol university, The Guardian Society Section, CIA, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Mirror

In America, obesity has become a major issue.  According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department, more than one third of United States adults are obese and as of 2012, more than a quarter of American children are obese.  Alongside the U.S., obesity has become a major issue abroad in countries such as China.

Obesity leads to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.  Obesity increases the medical cost for individuals by more than $1,400 per year and government spending on healthcare costs by $147 billion.  Obesity also decreases the productivity of individuals, which with all of these combined demonstrate its negative effect on the economy.  As obesity is a highly emphasized global concern, much of that sentiment can be equally shared to its counter: the issue of hunger.

Even though it might seem that obesity and hunger are entirely different issues, they resurrect from the same origin – a nutritional system.  Understanding the causes of these two issues will further establish the significance to this underlying connection. Take, for instance that while the cause of obesity is an excessive consumption of unhealthy food and lack of exercise, the cause of hunger is a lack of food or conduct to establish a healthy diet.  For both, the root of the problem is the farming industry.

Most of the food supply comes from developing countries.  If the farmers do not have access to good farming equipment and farming technology, they will be more likely to use toxic farming chemicals on their land and cattle. In result, the produced food contains several unsafe chemicals that contribute to the potential causes of obesity.

In a TED talk, Ellen Gustafson suggested the solution to both of these problems is to increase the funding for farming industries and feed the hungry children in developing countries. By increasing the fund for farming, farmers can have access to better farming technology to enable producing healthier food for their home countries and exporting countries.  Additionally, more healthful diets help children in poverty countries grow up with both a healthy physicality and mental ability.

On a further note, hunger is a primary reason that children in poverty countries cannot go to school.  Improving the ethics in the farming industry and food supply to laborers, children in poverty can go to school, get educated, earn a better income and acquire a better livelihood while also contributing back to their society.

Phong Pham

Sources: Ted Talks, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obesity Society