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The Scope of Hunger

Posted by on August 15th, 2011

The scope of hunger is a hard concept to really embrace. Sure, there are images that we might immediately think of like homeless children, poverty-stricken single-parent families, and isolated fixed income seniors. With a sincere interest in responding to hunger with a “full plate of services” Philabundance has made an effort from a number of angles to meet our service population where they are…and they indeed are everywhere. We provide prepared meals to emergency kitchens and shelters through our Community Kitchen, household groceries through our partner agencies and directly through our Community Food Center, fresh produce through our Fresh For All outdoor produce program, Emergency Boxes for crisis situations, and our Senior Boxes which provide a monthly shelf stable supplement for low-income seniors.

It’s hard to believe in this day and age that hunger is as much an American problem as it is a world concern, but even from our Fresh For All produce distribution program in suburban cities such as Woodlynne, Glassboro, Souderton and Edgewater Park, NJ we are all learning that the face of hunger is often well hidden. Perhaps it’s because hunger is wrapped up in a sea of other social ills that seems to project similar faces. During a variety of canvassing trips to neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia neighbors and cupboard operators agree that hunger is a symptom of larger problems they see in their communities. They actually did not cite hunger as the most pressing need- it is jobs. What I have found interesting is that unemployment has changed many folk’s perception of who should be in a food pantry line or not. The truth is we all have assumptions about people and hunger that may be challenged in today’s economic climate.

Although all of these facts are difficult situations to stomach, it seems easy to determine what someone else could or should do at their time of financial need. How long could you go without adequate income, or a substantial job before you would seek outside help to care for your family? Do you know where to go to get help should you need it?

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