Ending Hunger in America, 2014 Hunger Report Introduction - Page 3

Joe Molieri/Bread for the World Stanley Glenn, a single father raising a daughter in Philadelphia, has been using SNAP/food stamps since he became disabled in 2006 and could no longer work. 12?Introduction Some people are more vulnerable to hunger than others. One in three families with an adult who is unable to work because of a disability worries about running out of food each month.2 Stanley Glenn, for example, is a 53-year-old single father raising his 14-year-old daughter in Philadelphia. Stanley suffered a stroke and has not been able to work for 7 years. He and his daughter get by on Social Security disability benefits and SNAP/food stamps. Before the stroke, he worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. It took a toll on his health; after the stroke, he also learned that he is diabetic and has a heart condition. “I just pushed myself too hard,” Stanley says. “It’s not like I don’t want to work, I would love to go back to work, but every time I try to go back my body says no.” In the United States, one of the most significant risk factors for hunger is being a child; children experience the highest hunger rates of any age group.3 In our most recent Hunger Reports, Bread for the World “I would love to go Institute has drawn attention to the lifelong effects of hunger on young chilback to work, but dren, particularly during the 1,000-day every time I try to window between pregnancy and age 2. go back my body New research provides incontrovertsays no.” ible evidence that this is the period in — Stanley Glenn human development when hunger has the most damaging impact. The risks continue to be serious long after age 2, but making sure good nutrition is available to mother and child—and that neither goes hungry during this period—is imperative. African Americans and Hispanics experience higher rates of hunger than whites, but there are many more whites who are hungry.4 See Figure i.2. Women experience higher rates of hunger than men, especially among seniors, and people with disabilities experience hunger at two to three times the rate of people without disabilities.5 The suffering that hunger causes individuals is a tragedy. But there are consequences for the nation as well. In 2011, a team of economists from Brandeis University calculated the direct and indirect costs of hunger, taking into account its effects on health, education, and economic productivity. They estimated the total cost to the country that year to be $167.5 billion.6 This means that we are all paying for hunger. Americans are not indifferent to people suffering from hunger—people of all income levels give to charities that provide for the most disadvantaged in society. Yet the num- About 50 percent of all U.S. children will, at some point before they turn 18, live in a household that receives food stamps/SNAP.1 n Bread for the World Institute 51 percent of U.S. families headed by a person age 65 to 74 had no money in retirement savings accounts in 2010.2