Every September marks Hunger Action Month. The whole month is dedicated to raising awareness about hunger and food insecurity in our communities. Today, 1 in 7 people in Western Washington struggle to fill their plates, their cupboards, and their stomachs. Several of our partner agencies held community-wide events during the month of September to fight hunger and raise awareness in the towns, cities, and counties where they live and work.
Hunger News and Trends
The latest food security data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that the food insecurity rate has continues to fall but still has not reached pre-recession levels. Nation-wide, 13.7% of households were food insecure in 2015, a significant decline from the 2014 rate of 15.4%. The number still remains above the pre-recession food insecurity rate of 12.2% in 2008.
Hunger and Health is a trend that Food Lifeline has been tracking for some time now. Recent studies have shown that there is a clear link between not having access to healthy food and an individual’s health. Food Lifeline’s Hunger in America 2014 survey revealed that nearly half of Western Washington’s food bank client households have someone living with a chronic illness.
Summer is an exciting time, but for some families it’s a time of uncertainty. More than 300,000 children in Western Washington don’t have access to the meals they normally get at school, leaving many families in a difficult situation.
At the end of June, our Public Policy team paid a visit to some of our partner food banks in Pierce County. Taking the day to explore, we visited the Sumner Community Food Bank, the Eatonville Family Agency, SE Tacoma FISH, and St. Leo’s Food Connection in Tacoma. We also had a few special visitors stop by some of the food banks with us!
How can kids learn if they are hungry?
We’ve been talking for many years now about the challenges Washington faces in closing the summer meal gap and meeting the needs of kids who rely on free or reduced school meals during the school year. Well, this year we have some good news! The Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) latest Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation report shows that Washington state improved by every measure for kids taking advantage of summer meal sites.
Our Public Policy team works with elected officials across Western Washington at the local, state, and national level. We hope this series helps you get better acquainted with the elected officials working to stop hunger. Want to see more articles like this? Subscribe to our Advocacy Alerts and stay up to date on the latest hunger research and policy.
SPOTLIGHT: Commissioner Ozias
Did you know that May is Older Americans Month (OAM)? The appreciation month for seniors dates back to 1963, when President Kennedy designated May Senior Citizens Month (later renamed Older Americans Month), and every president since has issued a formal proclamation that the entire nation pay tribute to older persons and their contributions to our communities. While the month is dedicated to honoring our nation’s seniors, it is also an opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults.