Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs
Hunger in America
Help Us Poster
Watch Video
Read Transcript
Comment
April 11, 2008

The news at the grocery store is grim for many. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices rose by 4% last year, the largest increase in 17 years. And, the USDA predicts they will rise another 4% this year. Eggs are up 40% in the past year; milk up 26% a gallon; a loaf of standard bread, 20%.

All across the nation families, government agencies and food banks are feeling the pinch. So many people are in precarious straits our government figures 28 million Americans will be using food stamps this year, the highest level since the program began in the 1960s. Almost one in l0 people in Ohio get food stamps; one in eight in Michigan, and one in six West Virginians. The rising food prices make that assistance worth less and less and food banks and pantries are facing increased need and those same higher prices.

The government has specific terms to quantify the nation's access to food — recently removing "hunger" from its designations.

  • Food security People have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
  • Low food security: Reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
  • Very low food security: Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.
The federal government reports its annual figures in numbers of "food secure." In 2006, 89 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year. The remaining households (10.9 percent) were food insecure at least some time during that year, essentially unchanged from 11.0 percent in 2005. The prevalence of very low food security was 4.0 percent of households, also essentially unchanged from 2005 (3.9 percent).

America's Second Harvest profiles extensive demographic profiles of emergency food clients at charitable feeding agencies. Their Hunger Study 2006 found that 4.5 million different people receive emergency food assistance from the system in any given week.

Find out how you can get or give assistance through the links below and at America's Second Harvest:


View Larger Map

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL is not responsible for content on outside sites.

Published on April 11, 2008.

Related Media:
OBarbara Ehrenreich
Bill Moyers talks with author Barbara Ehrenreich about inequality in America.


Afghan child, Photo by Siobhan LynamNOW WITH BILL MOYERS: Life on the Edge
NOW WITH BILL MOYERS' 2002 broadcast "Life on the Edge" told the stories of families living in Oregon, a state found by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have a high rate of "food insecurity" and hunger.
References and Reading:
America's Second Harvest
America's Second Harvest provides nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. You can search their database for a food panty near you and get tips on how to donate and volunteer.

"About 1.1 Million Ohioans Receive Food Stamps, Highest In Nation"
AHN Media, Julie Farby, March 25, 2008.

"High Grocery Bills? Get Great Deals on Dated Food Amish Country Grocery Store Says Outdated or Damaged Food Is Fine to Sell"
ABC News, Ryan Owens and Ely Brown, March 18, 2008

"Hunger Pains"
THE WASHINGTON POST, Kirstin Downey, April 8, 2008

"One in 6 West Virginians is on food stamps: Officials say higher cost of food, fuel diminish value of assistance"
CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL, Justin D. Anderson, March 26, 2008.

"Rising Food Prices Hard in Brooklyn"
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Amanda Coleman and Veronika Belenkaya, April 8th 2008.

"What Grocers Teach Us About The U.S. Economy"
FORBES, Melanie Lindner, April 9, 2008.

Also This Week:

CASH COWS & COWBOY STARTER KITS
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL teams up with the PBS series EXPOSÉ: AMERICA'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS to follow the trail of Washington Post reporters who uncovered more than $15 billion in "wasteful, unnecessary, or redundant expenditures" that have flowed from Washington to America's farmers

> MORE FROM EXPOSÉ: AMERICA'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS

THE FARM BILL: DOWN HOME IN CONGRESS
What's in the farm bill? And, what's behind the debate over its passage.

HUNGER IN AMERICA
Why are America's food banks suffering shortages? Find out what you can do to help.

DAVID BECKMANN, BREAD FOR THE WORLD
Bill Moyers talks with the president of Bread for the World about the challenges of combatting hunger.

MOYERS DIGITAL ARCHIVE: Life on the Edge
NOW WITH BILL MOYERS' 2002 broadcast "Life on the Edge" told the stories of families living in Oregon, a state found by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have a high rate of "food insecurity" and hunger.

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
Our posts and your comments
OUR POSTS
YOUR COMMENTS
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTS EMAIL US