WALLINGFORD, CONN., September 1, 2016 – This September the Connecticut Food Bank, together with the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, will mobilize in an effort to bring an end to hunger. Hunger Action Month is designed to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 48 million Americans, including 15 million children, are food insecure, according to the USDA.
Nearly half a million Connecticut residents struggle with hunger and may not know where their next meal is coming from. That number includes one in six children who may not have enough to eat.
September marks the ninth year the Feeding America network of food banks has organized this annual call to action. This year the campaign will focus on the strong connections between hunger and health.
The Hunger Action Month 2016 campaign asks people to consider how it must feel to live with an empty stomach, which puts a healthy life and a promising future at risk.
“Access to enough food for basic nutrition is out of reach for many people in Connecticut,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau. “It is especially troubling among the one in six Connecticut children who can’t grow and learn on empty stomachs.”
According to the Feeding America study, Hunger in America 2014, nearly half of households served by the Feeding America network include someone that is in either fair or poor health. In Connecticut, the study found, more than 70% of households served by the Connecticut Food Bank reported having to choose between buying food or paying their utility bills and more than 60% were forced to choose between paying for food or paying rent.
“I’ve spent many days on the road this past year, visiting food banks, food pantries, and meal programs and meeting people who are facing hunger,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “I’ve seen firsthand the anguish that food insecurity and hunger can cause. It is always heartbreaking to meet a mother or father who fears that they will not be able to feed their children. They know that their children cannot reach their full potential if they don’t have enough to eat.”
Hunger Action Day®, the second Thursday in September, is a day where efforts across the country are focused for greater impact.
This year, on September 8, the Connecticut Food Bank asks supporters to wear orange to show their intention to help move toward a hunger free Connecticut. “We hope that people will engage their friends, families, schools and workplaces in Wear Orange Day to demonstrate how many people are concerned about the problem of hunger in our state,” Beaudreau said.
The food bank also asks people to share what they couldn’t do without adequate nutrition by writing on an empty paper plate, “On an empty stomach I can’t ______,” and filling in the blank with something they couldn’t achieve without the nutrition we need to thrive.
Beaudreau invited participants in Wear Orange Day and people sharing their empty plate images to post photos to social media with #HungerActionMonth, @CTFoodBank and @FeedingAmerica to join the conversation.
Beaudreau invited people to join him in taking the SNAP Challenge to gain an understanding of what it is like to rely on food assistance. “The maximum income a person can earn monthly to receive SNAP, what we used to call ‘Food Stamps,’ is $1,815,” Beaudreau said. “The average rent on an apartment in Connecticut is $1,099. Imagine how you’d make ends meet.” Beadreau said the average SNAP benefit in Connecticut is $132.52 per month for food, or $4 per day. Beaudreau will live on a food budget of $4 per day from September 6 through September 13 and share his experience on Twitter at @CTFoodBank_CEO and at www.ctfoodbank.org. More information about the SNAP Challenge is at www.ctfoodbank.org/SNAPChallenge.
Other activities planned by the Connecticut Food Bank for September include Hunger 101 education programs offered in schools, special volunteer opportunities during the Community Volunteer Blitz in the last week of September and the Golden Scoop Corporate Championship on September 23, offering corporations an opportunity to show their speed and skill packaging food for feeding programs that are part of the Connecticut Food Bank network. More information about Hunger Action Month activities is at www.ctfoodbank.org/hungeraction.
“With the combined effort of Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks and hunger advocates across the country, the goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about hunger and inspire Americans to get involved,” Aviv said. “The Feeding America network is leading the fight to end hunger in the U.S. We all have a role to play in getting food to our neighbors in need. Advocate. Educate. Volunteer. Donate.”
About the Connecticut Food Bank:
The Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. The Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to provide food, which last year provided 19.2 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to six Connecticut counties – Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties – where more than 300,000 people struggle with hunger. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.