We shouldn’t ignore the hungry and homeless

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When I saw the movie “A Place at the Table” I didn’t want to believe that one out of two children in this country face food insecurity.

Learning that 57 percent of children in our Walla Walla schools qualify for free and reduced-price lunches brings those figures home.

Breakfast and lunch at school might be the only reliable food some children in our community have to eat. We may not be able to spot hungry kids because they are not skeletal like pictures of starving children in Africa.

Some might even be fat. Obesity and poverty are more closely linked than we might imagine. After all, chips and hamburgers can be cheaper and more filling than fresh fruit.

The United States ranks 17th out of 17 developed countries on food insecurity, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. We’re behind Greece, Slovenia, Cyprus and Portugal whether or not we want to believe it.

Magazines published by Oxfam and the Heifer Project have stories of how those organizations help people in developing countries provide for their families and move out of poverty. Here school gardens help address the need for nutritious food, but not enough. While churches, charities and social service organizations continually increase their help to hungry people, the problem has grown from 20 million during Ronald Reagan’s presidency to 50 million under Barack Obama’s.

The third week of November has been set aside nationally to mark awareness of hunger and homelessness. Nov. 18 to 20 from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at Title Plaza, people in Walla Walla will gather to share stories and information. You’re invited to come to learn what’s going on.

Dorothy Knudson

Walla Walla

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