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Feed the Hungry:  Information about Hunger and Food Insecurity

Find out more about Hunger and Food Insecurity in the United States

Find out more about Hunger and Food Insecurity Overseas

Find out more about Famine and Food Insecurity in the Eastern Horn of Africa

Learn about some of the ways that NHCC is involved in the effort to combat hunger and how you can make a difference

The following information has been retrieved from sources including Bread for the World, the USDA, and various other organizations.


We live in one of the world's wealthiest nations.  Yet 13 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty.

  • 14.5% of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table.  More than 49 million Americans--including 16.7 million children (nearly one in four)-- live in these households.
  • In 2010, 14.5 % of U.S. households were food insecure at least some time during that year.  Households experiencing low food security reduced the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets, they worried about not having enough food, they experienced food running out, and they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
  • In 2010, 5.4 % of households experienced severe or very low food security.  In these households, one or more people were hungry at times during 3 or more months because they could not afford enough food, they cute the size of meals, they ate less than they needed, and they skipped meals experiencing "the uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food."
  • In 2010, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.2%), especially households with children headed by single women (35.1%) or single men (25.4%), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1%), and Hispanic households (26.2%).
  • In 2009, 8.0% of seniors living alone (925,000 households) were food insecure.

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The world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has faced in more than 50 years.

  • There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005.  The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people in to poverty.
  • In 2010, 925 million people suffer from hunger.  This is due to a sudden spike in global food prices and the onset of a world-wide economic crisis.
  • In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday.  One third of these deaths are due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition.
  • Children who survive early childhood malnutrition suffer irreversible harm--including poor physical growth, compromised immune function, and impaired cognitive ability.  Around the world, 178 million chidren under 5 are stunted, low height for age.  Of all stunted children,  90 percent live in just 36 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia.
  • U.S. development assistance accounts for about 0.2% of gross national income.
  • Since 2000, U.S. poverty-focused development assistance has tripled, and currently totals a little over $28 billion  (Bread for the World estimate), but this amount still represents less than 1% of the federal budget.
  • Cuts have already been made to poverty-focused foreign assistance this year.  Many believe that giving to foreign assistance programs, we strengthen our national security.

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This year marks the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa region since 1995, with the lowest level of rainfall in more than 50 years.  The drought has caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatens the livelihoods of more than 13.3 million people.  Food security has deteriorated in most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as well as other countries in the region. Crops have failed, large numbers of livestock needed for survival have perished, and local food prices have increased substantially.  In Somalia, some 3.7 million people are now facing a crisis, while in Kenya the total number of those estimated to be affected is up to 3.5 million.  Many refugees from southern Somalia have fled to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, and 30 to 40% of those arriving in Kenya are seriously malnourished.

On 20 July 2011, the United Nations officially declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia, the first time a famine has been declared by the UN in nearly 30 years.  Tens of thousands of people are believed to have died in southern Somalia before famine was declared.  An estimated 40,000 people, most of them chidren younger than 5, have died since famine conditions were declared.  On 3 August the UN declared famine in three other regions of southern Somalia, citing worsening conditions and inadequate humanitarian response.  On September 5, the UN added the entire bay region in Somalia to the list of famine-stricken areas.

The World Food Program remained 60% underfunded by March 2011 and had to cut back its feeding programs in Somalia and Ethiopia.  The UN has conducted several airlifts of supplies in addition to on-the-ground assistance, but humanitarian response to the crisis has been hindered by a severe lack of funding for international aid coupled with security issues in the region.  63% of the UN's appeal for $2.4 billion US in humanitarian assistance has been financed, but much more is needed.

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Interested in working to address hunger locally and overseas?  Find out more about these opportunities for addressing hunger.

Interested in contributing financially to organizations that address hunger related concerns?  NHCC provides financial support for a number of organizations and appeals.  In addition, the NHCC Mission Committee organizes fund drives and has a discretionary fund that can be used to provide support to special appeals and  organizations.  Some we have supported include:

We also have special offerings a couple of times a year.  Two that we have annually are: