WASHINGTON, DC— Last night, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to recognize June 7, 2011 as National Hunger Awareness Day.
“Hunger and food insecurity is an unfortunate and preventable reality for many Pennsylvanians,” said Senator Casey. “In this time of economic recovery, there is an urgent need for food assistance. We must call attention to the issue and support anti-hunger organizations so that no family has to wonder where their next meal will come from.”
Department of Agriculture data shows that approximately 5.6 million U.S. households have utilized emergency food from a food pantry at least once. Food insecurity affects Americans in all portions of the country, especially families with children.
The resolution calls on citizens to recognize National Hunger Awareness Day by volunteering, donating food and supporting organizations that reduce food insecurity, such as soup kitchens, food banks and emergency shelters.
The resolution was cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The full text of the resolution is below:
Designating June 7, 2011, as “National Hunger Awareness Day.”
Whereas food insecurity and hunger are a fact of life for millions of individuals in the United States and can produce physical, mental, and social impairments;
Whereas recent data published by the Department of Agriculture show that approximately 50,200,000 individuals in the United States live in households experiencing hunger or food insecurity, and of that number, 33,000,000 are adults and 17,200,000 are children;
Whereas the Department of Agriculture data also show that households with children experience nearly twice the rate of food insecurity as those households without children;
Whereas 4.8 percent of all households in the United States (approximately 5,600,000 households) have accessed emergency food from a food pantry 1 or more times;
Whereas the report entitled “Household Food Security in the United States, 2009” and published by the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture found that in 2009, the most recent year for which data exist—
(1) 14.7 percent of all households in the United States experienced food insecurity at some point during the year;
(2) 21.3 percent of all households with children in the United States experienced food insecurity at some point during the year; and
(3) 7.5 percent of all households with elderly individuals in the United States experienced food insecurity at some point during the year;
Whereas the problem of hunger and food insecurity can be found in rural, suburban, and urban portions of the United States, touching nearly every community of the United States;
Whereas, although substantial progress has been made in reducing the incidence of hunger and food insecurity in the United States, many Americans remain vulnerable to hunger and the negative effects of food insecurity;
Whereas the people of the United States have a long tradition of providing food assistance to hungry individuals through acts of private generosity and public support programs;
Whereas the Federal Government provides nutritional support to millions of individuals through numerous Federal food assistance programs, including—
(1) the supplemental nutrition assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.);
(2) the child nutrition program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.);
(3) the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children established by section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1786);
(4) the emergency food assistance program established under the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 (7 U.S.C. 7501 et seq.); and
(5) food donation programs;
Whereas there is a growing awareness of the important role that community-based organizations, institutions of faith, and charities play in assisting hungry and food-insecure individuals;
Whereas more than 50,000 local, community-based organizations rely on the support and efforts of more than 1,000,000 volunteers to provide food assistance and services to millions of vulnerable people; and
Whereas all people of the United States can participate in hunger relief efforts in their communities by—
(1) donating food and money to hunger relief efforts;
(2) volunteering for hunger relief efforts; and
(3) supporting public policies aimed at reducing hunger: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) designates June 7, 2011, as “National Hunger Awareness Day”; and
(2) calls on the people of the United States to observe National Hunger Awareness Day—
(A) with appropriate ceremonies, volunteer activities, and other support for local anti-hunger advocacy efforts and hunger relief charities, including food banks, food rescue organizations, food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters; and
(B) by continuing to support programs and public policies that reduce hunger and food insecurity in the United States.