We looked at Loretta Schwartz-Nobel's book, Growing Up Empty: The Hunger Epidemic in America, at this month's Urban Engagement Book Club.
Schwartz-Nobel traveled and visited with all sorts of people in all kinds of places to get at the growing reality of hunger in America.
Middle class hunger.
Long-term, generational poverty and hunger.
Hunger among the working poor.
Hunger on the streets among the homeless.
Hunger and immigrants.
Even, if you can imagine it, a look at the very real problem of hunger among U. S. military families.
She is a great writer. The book is a sobering read. Her words move the reader at a very deep level.
But, does anyone care?
Here's what she has to say about hunger and the impact of public policy on its growth:
My strongest drive is to convey the fact that as federal aid is slashed, suffering and hunger increases among us and that as federal aid increases, hunger proportionately decreases. It is to show that, urgent and admirable as they are, all the grassroots efforts and all the food resuce efforts of the last quarter century still haven't defeated hunger in America because they alone can't make up for the shortfall caused by cuts in government programs.
That does not mean that we should stop our individual or group efforts. I know now, from personal experience, even on the smallest scale, every family's food stamps and each of our independent acts of giving can mean the difference between life and death. The answers will come from our collective action as a nation, from our politicians' responses, and from the individual things that every one of us does. It means not forgetting. It means spreading the word by telling those who don't already know. It means not turning from the people who need us and the work we were meant to do. (pages 32-33)
Our day-to-day experience here at Central Dallas Ministries confirms the analysis provided in Growing Up Empty.
Hunger is on the rise. Our numbers are up 41% over this time last year!
Food security is in decline.
Does anyone notice?
(Go to http://www.centraldallasministries.org/ to learn more about our monthly book club and discussion group now attracting around 100 participants each meeting.)