Hunger is complex and often misunderstood. In the United States hunger is not caused by overall food shortages nor by the personal choices of hungry people. Hunger in America is about poverty and the social forces that create and sustain it. The U.S. is the wealthiest country in world history, and yet today there are millions of Americans living in poverty and hunger.
People in poverty are not usually poor because of something they did or did not do. Most people in poverty were born into it or fell into it due to health, age, family circumstance, cultural barriers, inadequate education, or low wages. Once poor, many people lose their political and social voice, focusing their energies instead on the struggles of just surviving. Those in poverty are often forgotten by the public, ignored by politicians, and blamed by the self-righteous.
Allowing poverty and hunger to persist in America is a political choice made by government officials and their supporters — the choice not to make needed changes in policy nor to adequately fund the services and programs that help struggling people.
We have the power to change these choices, end poverty, and abolish hunger, but it will take more than charity to do this. Fundamental change requires fundamental reform. Food banks, homeless shelters, and other private charities are critically needed stop-gaps in a society with millions at risk of hunger, but they are not designed to change the fundamentals.
To end poverty and hunger in America we must stop skewing our policies to benefit the elite. Extravagant corporate subsidies, tax breaks for the rich, inadequate job and wage protections, and excessive military spending must be replaced by strong social safety nets, a healthful and sustainable food system, measures to reduce wealth inequality, and true democracy.
Get involved with Just Harvest and our part of the larger movement to create a new America, where no one must go hungry, and where the government is focused on serving the people who need it most. Hunger is not just about food — it is about justice and power. Ending hunger is something we must – and can – do together.
Read our executive director Ken Regal’s thoughts about ending hunger and poverty.
Read our fact sheets and reports on hunger and poverty in Pennsylvania and related public policies.
You can also visit one of our partner advocacy agencies:
If you want to help alleviate the day-to-day hunger pains in our community, visit our sister agency in Allegheny County: