regularly throughout the year (Coleman-Jensen,
Nord, Andrews, & Carlson, 2012; DeNavas-Walt,
Proctor, & Smith, 2012).
Children are especially hard hit: More than
16;million U.S. children— 21. 9;percent of the
population—live in households struggling to put
food on the table. That’s one of every five kids.;And
more than 7;million children suffer deep poverty.
More families today rely on food stamps (now called
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or
SNAP) than in past years, and 47;percent of SNAP
participants are children under 18 (U.S. Department
of Agriculture, 2012).
Over;helmingly, teachers across the
United States told us childhood hunger
remains a serious obstacle to learning.
That’s a lot of statistics, but the picture they paint
is simple: One-fifth of U.S. children struggle with
hunger. And the faces of those hungry children are
familiar to most of us. They’re kids we see living in
our neighborhoods, playing on our Little League
teams, and trying to learn in our classrooms.
food banks now receive donations from food banks.
Today, more than 46;million Americans—
15;percent of the population—live below the
poverty line of $23,050 for a family of four. Of
those, 20. 4;million live in “deep poverty” (income
of less than $11,500 a year for a family of four).
Poverty coupled with financial setbacks like
unemployment, medical emergencies, or other crises
means that more than 50;million people in this
country struggle to afford enough nutritious food
A Battle That Can Be Won
© JOHN MOORE/GE TTY IMAGES
Combating childhood hunger in the United States
is a battle that can be won. We have enough food.
We even have food and nutrition programs to make
that food available to families who can’t afford it.
The trick is cutting through barriers to allow more
kids to access these programs and raising awareness
of hunger. Share Our Strength works to increase
awareness of the spread of hunger throughout the
United States—and of programs families can turn to.
Many of those programs are based in schools, and
there is much school leaders and teachers can do to
connect hungry children with programs that provide
The stakes are high. When kids get the food they
need, they feel better, perform better in school, and
have fewer behavior problems.
Teachers on the Front Lines
Teachers are on the front lines in the war against
childhood hunger. They spend hours with kids daily