Hunger Action Month will launch Sunday across the country and in Southwest Florida to mobilize people to take action to fight hunger in their communities.
From Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, including the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, will raise awareness of the fact that fact 40 million Americans are food insecure, according to the USDA. Being food insecure means that they often don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
This is the 12th year Feeding America has organized this annual call to action. The 2019 campaign is also commemorating Feeding America’s 40th anniversary by seeking 40,000 actions from the public – a donation, a volunteer shift, a social media post – actions that will help end hunger one helping at a time.
In the five-county Southwest Florida region the Harry Chapin Food Bank serves, 151,610 people are food insecure, according to Map the Meal Gap 2019, an annual study done by Feeding America. Of that number, 46,470 are children. In addition, about two-thirds of public school children are eligible for or receive free or reduced-priced meals from their school because of their families’ low income.
The food bank’s clients include children, families, seniors and veterans. They may have just lost a job, or may be underemployed. They may be battling illness, struggling on a fixed income or dealing with a life-changing circumstance such as divorce or the death of a loved one. Many wind up having to make the difficult choice between buying food or paying a bill, rent or medical care. Seniors are particularly hard hit.
“The Harry Chapin Food Bank, its programs and its more than 150 partner agencies provide a critical lifeline for our Southwest Florida community,” said Richard LeBer, food bank president and CEO. “We rescue millions of pounds of food that would otherwise go to waste and make it available to the people who need it. Every day in September, we will be calling attention to the needs of our many hungry neighbors, and letting you know how you can help.”
Orange is the color for Hunger Action Month, and we invite you to wear it often. The focal point of the month is Hunger Action Day on Sept. 12, but the Harry Chapin Food Bank has a calendar full of ways you can take action against hunger every day of the month. Find the calendar and a Hunger Action Month web page with more how-to information by visiting www.harrychapinfoodbank.org/hunger-action-month.