The USDA states that over 16 million children are food insecure in the United States. That is over 1 in 4 American children. Feeding America serves 14 million of those children. 38% of the people that Feeding America serves are under the age of 18, and almost 4 out of 5 households that receive help from Feeding America have a child under the age of 18 living with them.
Hunger's Broad Impact
Hungry children impact all aspects of our society. Not only does their health suffer, but hunger affects their educational opportunities and also has a large economic impact.
Being hungry affects a child’s ability to concentrate in class, leading to lower grades.
When children are hungry, their focus is on when their next meal will be instead of their education.
Hungry children have difficulties behaving properly and socializing due to irritability and lack of energy from food. They cannot adjust as well in social situations as food secure children.
Hungry children are more often ill and suffer health issues that lead to hospitalization.
Being hungry as a child can alter the proper rate of growth and decrease the chances of meeting their physical development.
Not only does being hungry as a child limit physical potential, but it can also negatively affect emotional and intellectual growth.
Hungry children are less likely to finish high school or attend any form of higher education, which can contribute to a lower salary over their lifetime. Those who obtain a job are less likely to meet full potential and work as effectively, leading to a decreased chance of career success. They are less competitive in the workforce, and possess fewer job-related skills. What about the summer, weekends and after school?
During the school year, over 21 million children depend on free or reduced meal prices at school to get a balanced and healthy meal. When children are not in school, they may not know where their next meal will come from. Nearly 14 million children are served through the Feeding America network via food pantries during summer or weekend food programs to serve this growing need.