WHAT IS HUNGER?
What is hunger? Most people will respond by saying it is a lack of food at a particular time. Your body will send signals to your brain wondering why food has not been deposited. The brain does not understand why. In its confusion, the body will react to the lack of food by producing grumbling sounds from its stomach. The body is in protection mode trying to reserve the nutrients it had previously. The brain is telling the body that food is not coming anytime soon. The body goes frantic. As it continues to growl from the lack of food, the body gets another signal in the form of a headache. Signals from the brain have the body believing it is starving.
Does anyone really think of all those things when defining hunger? For the average person the answer would be no. Responses such as above would probably come from a doctor or researcher who would be more prone to break down the effects of what hunger does to the body, even if it was not specifically asked.
When you find articles about hunger, you normally come across a lot of statistics on the population of a particular area. A ton of percentages can be thrown at you in every two or three paragraphs, and then you lose interest. Does anyone ever wonder what hunger means to the everyday Joe? If the answer were yes, articles on hunger would be less technical in order for the average Joe to even bother reading it.
WHAT DOES HUNGER MEAN TO JOE?
First of all, the only people that tend to think about what hunger is, are those that are hungry. Truth is a person that is really hungry does not get on a computer to search for solutions to their hunger; they go out to find food to eat. They could be street beggars asking others to give up their spare change to them so they can eat, but in today’s society people are weary of giving out money to strangers because:
- They could be robbed as soon as they begin to search for money to give them.
- They feel the person could be lying as to why they need the money.
- Givers to the beggars will later witness that same person buying an alcoholic beverage or some other non-food item with the money they just gave them.
Second, they could be getting food assistance from government programs because they cannot feed their families on what little resources they have. Yet, since these programs come from the government, a stigma has been associated with using such programs. Society as a whole will call such people, ‘free loaders’, even if they have jobs. Some shy away from asking for help because being ‘in the system’ would be too embarrassing for them. The Hunger in America 2014 study also reveals that nearly 5 million of those households that are NOT receiving government food assistance could be.
The meaning of hunger to a hungry person means that they need food. This includes the homeless, the working class, and the unemployed. The homeless may even work, but live with someone else such as a relative or friends. Even those but do not make enough money to feed themselves or their families sufficiently; this is food insecurity.
Households may resort to rationing. According to the Hunger in America 2014 study, this happens very frequently. Findings:
- 40% of households water down their food in order to make it last longer. If there are children in those same households, it increases by 5%.
- 69% of households have to choose between paying utilities and buying food.
- Nearly 55% of those receiving monthly government food assistance will use their month’s supply within one week.
- Only 5% of the households that Feeding America serves are homeless.
- 57% of households report having to choose between paying their housing costs to paying for food. Some have to make this decision every month.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It comes down to the fact that one of the greatest countries in the world, the United States of America, should be greatly ashamed of having this problem. How can it be called ‘the greatest’ if some of its own inhabitants live on the streets, beg for money, starve from lack of food, go without utilities in order to eat, or cannot rise above their barren situations? The country puts fighting wars and political arguments as primary concerns, while the hungry and the food insecure wonder why these issues are even issues in what some perceive as the ‘greatest country in the free world’. Priorities are off when children, senior citizens, blacks, whites, men, women, working, unemployed are not getting enough food period.