Complex problem of hunger demands collaborative response, say advocates

Together at the Table

By Ken Camp

Hunger in America represents a complex problem that defies easy solutions and demands collaborative responses, Bob Aiken, chief executive officer of Feeding America, told a gathering of anti-hunger advocates at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Feeding America represents 200 food banks and 61,000 food pantries and meals programs across the country that provide more than 3.2 billion meals to more than 37 million people.

“But what’s needed is 8.5 billion meals to feed 49 million people,” 16 million of whom are children, Aiken told the Together at the Table Hunger and Poverty Summit at Baylor.

The Texas Hunger Initiative — headquartered in Baylor University’s School of Social Workand launched by Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission — sponsored the summit in conjunction with Feeding Texas and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service Southwest Regional Office.

“None of us can solve hunger alone,” Aiken said.

Clients served by the food and meal programs associated with Feeding America report making tough choices due to inadequate resources, he noted: 69 percent choose between buying food or paying utility bills; 67 percent choose between food or transportation costs; 66 percent choose between food and medicine; and 57 percent choose between food or payments for housing.

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