Problems Full of Empty Stomachs: How can we help prevent another extensive malnutrition and hunger crisis?

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Historical Context: The Great Depression

Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen

Unemployed men outside a soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone, 1931 (historicalphotos.com).

One of the first cases of extensive malnutrition and hunger in America was during the Great Depression. The U.S. first encountered its major food crisis from 1929 to 1933; the Great Depression is known as the one of the greatest economic downfalls in modern history. The circumstances quickly escalated when millions of people were left unemployed; families gradually became financially unstable as food insecurities grew and children were mentally and physically unable to go to school. Many families lost their jobs and were evicted from their houses; “Unemployment in 1930 averaged a mildly recessionary 8.9%, up from 3.2% in 1929” (Foundation for Economic Education Editors). As for food resources, farmers suffered from the decrease of produce pricing, while overproducing countless amounts of crops. The decrease in demand forced farmers into lowering their pricing which spiked other consequences. Farmers regularly lost money whilst the pile of rotten crops heightened simultaneously.

Current Problem: COVID-19

“Almost four times as many people than before the pandemic used our Food Locator to find resources, pantries, and CalFresh (food stamps) assistance.”

San Francisco Marin Food Bank

Alameda County Food Banks See Extraordinary Demand

Food insecurity is a critical social problem that is intricately connected to other equally important issues. It all begins when a family becomes financially unstable, leaving them unable to afford nutritious food.  In addition, issues such as food waste are heavily related to food insecurity; “Food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply” (U.S. Department  of Agriculture). Numerous food banks are struggling because the “demand is spiking and people are in need, [but] food is becoming very difficult to get” (Bhattarai). Another huge issue that appears alongside food insecurity is homelessness. It is an issue that impacts many communities, especially in the Bay Area. Although they are both very different cases, many organizations strive to limit and assist both individuals that are food insecure and homeless. 

Works Cited:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R3YwO30r0sYBnJTFwCK07C7simPr2k80vT1RHDhWSWg/edit?usp=sharing

Comments:

Thank you for checking out my page! I hope that you have learned about the importance of the cycle of hunger and poverty circulating in our society, and urge you to find the best ways you can contribute to help end it. Feel free to leave any questions or comments as well as feedback and thoughts on both the macro and micro solutions. 

Let me know down below:

Have you ever researched about any local organizations, shelters, food banks, etc. near you? Has your family tried to contribute with limiting food waste, if not what is stopping you from doing so?

2 Comments
Alice_92

Alice_92

Student at Head-Royce School, Oakland, CA USA

2 comments

  1. Alex

    Hi Alice, great job on your webpage; your concise yet impactful information has shown me the history and the pressing current situation of malnutrition and food insecurity. I really liked your use of interesting pictures, graphics, and videos to display information. One fact that I found was very startling and eye-opening was that almost four times as many people than before the pandemic used San Francisco Marin Food Bank’s food locator to find resources, pantries, and CalFresh assistance. Great job!

  2. Alex B

    Hi Alice!
    I loved your presentation. I thought your layout was super easy to follow and super informative as well. I have researched about some of my local food banks and I considered volunteering at one near me but unfortunately, you have to be 18 to volunteer so I am still too young. I am currently looking for other ways to help my community fight food insecurity. Both your micro and macro solutions look awesome and very well-thought-out. I appreciate your solutions because this issue is super important and needs to be addressed. You did an amazing job!

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