U.S. Senators and Hunger Caucus Co-Chairs Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today recognized National Hunger Awareness Day and called on Americans to support local efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity in the United States.
"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 efforts so that no family has to wonder where their next meal will come from."
"The level of hunger in our nation is at the highest level since the government began tracking food insecurity in 1995. In Illinois, 500,000 children are living in a food insecure household," said Senator Durbin. "Last week, I visited a Summer Food Service Program in Decatur, Illinois where one woman described how the meals provided to her three children by this program helped save the family money that they are now able to spend on gas and other essentials. These are working families who, in this tough economy, just aren't able to make ends meet. In a nation that prides itself as the land of plenty; we must protect the vital anti-hunger programs that help make sure everybody has enough to eat."
"We must continue to fight hunger and food insecurity, in Indiana, across the United States, and around the world," said Senator Lugar. "Hunger can have negative impacts on physical and mental health, the stability of families, children's education and development, and a stable economy. To do this, we must continue to expand food and agricultural production and create jobs by focusing on increasing agricultural productivity, expanding trade opportunities, and promoting vital agricultural research and technology advancements."
"Despite being a leader in agriculture, Arkansas continues to have one of the highest hunger rates in the nation," said Senator Boozman. "With the national unemployment rate hovering around 9%, we are seeing Arkansans who used to donate to our food banks now coming to our food banks to get relief. That is why we, as co-chairs of the Senate Hunger Caucus, are working to raise awareness about hunger in our communities and educate members of Congress and Americans about ways in which we can combat hunger. While I believe the government can play an influential role in helping people who suffer from hunger, it can't solve this problem by itself. We can eliminate hunger, but it will require a public-private partnership with everyone working together."
"Hunger is not just a problem in developing countries; families in our own communities are struggling to find their next meal," said Senator Moran. "Whether it is a local family who has fallen on hard times or a famine in Africa, Kansans have shown compassion and a genuine desire to see their fellow man prosper. During these tough economic times, we must continue our efforts to address the needs of those who are hungry."
Last month, the Senators passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing June 7, 2011 as National Hunger Awareness Day. The resolution points to Department of Agriculture Data showing that approximately 5.6 million U.S. households have utilized emergency food from a food pantry at least once, and households with children experience nearly twice the rate of food insecurity as households without children.