Archive for the ‘Hunger and Food Insecurity’ Category

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s declaration of “an unconditional War on Poverty.”

“Many Americans live on the outskirts of hope–some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity,” said President Johnson in his January 8, 1964, State of the Union address.

While 1 in 5 Alabamians and more than 1 in 4 children currently live below the federal poverty line, it is an issue we can make progress on. Americans have done it before. Between 1959 and 1973, we cut our national poverty rate nearly in half through an economy that worked for everyone and a strong set of programs that supported families when they struggled, including Head Start, Medicare, and TRIO college access programs.

However, we must be vigilant in our quest to ensure that every Alabamian can reach their full potential. Poverty won’t just go away; it’s something we must constantly and consistently work to reduce.

According to new research from the Half in Ten campaign, 70 percent of Americans would support a new effort to cut poverty in half within the next decade through investments in jobs, wages, health care, and education.

As President Johnson said, “the richest Nation on earth can afford to win [the war on poverty]. We cannot afford to lose it.”

Watch the 1964 State of the Union address below.  For its full text, click here.

Other Resources

Alabama Possible 2013 Data Sheet 

The War on Poverty Then and Now: Applying Lessons Learned to the Challenges and Opportunities Facing a 21st-Century America

50 Years After LBJ’s War on Poverty: A Study of American Attitudes About Work, Economic Opportunity, and the Social Safety Net

 The Unfinished War Part I & The Unfinished War Part II by Nicholas Lemann

Legacies of the War on Poverty by Martha J. Bailey & Sheldon Danziger

Alabama is fat and hungry? Yes, it is.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

On Saturday September 22, the Wetumpka Herald posted a column from Managing Editor Peggy Blackburn with the headline “Alabama is Fat and Hungry?” Here’s an excerpt:

One report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranks Alabama as fourth in adult obesity rate at 32 percent of the population.

That seems like a reasonable estimate, especially given the charts used in determining if a person’s weight is under, over or in the normal range. I know some muscular folks the charts actually gauge as overweight.

Contrarily, a report published by the Food Research and Action Center said 23.4 percent of the state’s residents reported that they couldn’t afford enough food for their families and also reported going hungry. That is the second highest percentage in the country.

It is difficult for me to reconcile the state being the fourth most obese while at the same time being the second hungriest.

The categories are so specific it seems unlikely any of the people in one group could qualify for the other. If the respondents are all different, that would mean only 45 percent of Alabamians are neither overeating nor starving.

I don’t say it’s impossible, but it seems odd.

Although we applaud the managing editor’s efforts to educate herself about obesity and poverty in Alabama, we felt her article mischaracterized the data. We sent this letter in response:

Dear Ms. Blackburn:

This email is in response to your column “Alabama is fat and hungry?” which was posted on Saturday.

Today it is quite common to be both hungry and obese.

Poverty causes hunger, and nearly 1 in 5 Alabamians live in poverty. Poor families contend with challenges like low wages, part-time work, and unemployment – factors that make it difficult to afford food.

Conversely, obesity impacts Alabamians of all walks of life. The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 2011, 31 percent of Alabama adults were obese.

The Food Research and Action Center cites some reasons why low-income people are especially prone to obesity, including:

• Many low-income communities lack full-service grocery stores but have a proliferation of convenience stores that do not stock fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

• Healthy, low fat food is more expensive than low cost, high calorie options.

• Low-income communities have fewer recreation options and higher rates of crime. These higher crime rates (or fear of crime) cause many families to keep their children indoors. Poor kids also do not have the same access to afterschool and summertime recreational activities and sports.

• Being poor is often stressful, which can result in disordered eating, reduced physical activity, and depression – all factors related to weight gain. In addition, hunger and/or poverty can cause production of a stress hormone that is associated with obesity.

The Alabama Poverty Project is a nonprofit resource center dedicated to reducing systemic poverty and its root causes across Alabama. APP educates citizens about poverty, motivates colleges and faith-based institutions to engage in poverty-reduction activities, and advocates for fact-based policy decisions statewide.

We invite Alabamians who are interested in learning more to visit our web site at www.alabamapossible.org.

Kristina Scott

Executive Director, Alabama Poverty Project

Give the power of possibilities with APP’s 2011 Holiday Gift Memberships

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Alabama-made goat cheese. Home-grown pepper jelly.  And the power to end poverty.

Our Alabama Possible campaign is about the power we have to ensure every Alabamian achieves their potential.

That’s why we have teamed up with two Alabama treasures – Elkmont’s Belle Chèvre Cheese and Thomaston’s Alabama Rural Heritage Center – for our 2011 gift membership premium.

For your donation of $50 or more, we’ll mail your honoree a gift box with Belle Chèvre fromage blanc and the Rural Heritage Center’s Mama Nem’s red pepper jelly along with a special note acknowledging your gift and their membership in APP supporting of our work mobilizing Alabamians to eliminate poverty.

Order here by midnight on Tuesday, December 20, to make sure your gift arrives on time. Payment accepted via Paypal only. Call 205-939-1408 with any questions.