By Bill Ayres
Executive Director and co-founder of WhyHunger
Hunger affects over 50 million people in the U.S. The chances are that you already know someone who is affected by hunger. Families with children, the elderly, and working people are in need of support, especially but not limited to the holiday season.
In response to this need, the National Hunger Hotline has been created. It is a service of the National Hunger Clearinghouse, funded in part by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and managed by WhyHunger. Below are just two of the recent stories we've we heard from people across the country in need of food assistance.
–A veteran of the United States Air Force recently called the Hotline in need of food resources to last him a month. The veteran had recently completed his four years of service and was set to join the Coast Guard in two months but was unable to provide the necessary shelter and food for his family of six in the interim. At the time of his call he was en route to a doctor’s appointment to meet his pregnant wife and was unable to write down the numbers. Instead, the Hotline advocate emailed him a list of food pantries that he would be able to access for the month as well as the commodities program at his local food bank.
–One of our grassroots partners, Lana, was trying to locate 50 meals a day for a low-income senior program. She made dozens of calls, including trying to enlist the support of a local politician, to no avail. We connected her to a model food pantry in the area, and they conducted a site visit. After the visit, the head of nutrition services passed away, and the case appeared to be in limbo. We re-connected Lana with the Executive Director and helped her to clarify details about the operation that had been an obstacle to her request.
A few weeks ago, we received an email from Lana stating that the senior center is now receiving 50 meals from the pantry daily. In addition, she contacted the local politician, who presented the pantry with a $5000 check for their work. She thanked us for “getting things done while others made promises.”
Need Help Finding Food?: Call the National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3 HUNGRY and 1-877-8 HAMBRE (1-866-348-6479 and 1-877-842-6273) to get connected to emergency food assistance, government programs, and model grassroots organizations that work to improve access to healthy, nutritious food, and build self-reliance. Help is available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm and Saturdays from 10am-2pm EST.
You can help us help those in need by visiting www.whyhunger.org.