This September Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, together with the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, will mobilize across all 50 states 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.
Each week, in the Mahoning Valley, member agencies are filling nearly 15,000 requests for food assistance.
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.
“Having access to healthy foods including fresh fruits and vegetables is important for the population we serve, especially for senior citizens and children, said Michael Iberis, executive director, Second Harvest Food Bank. “The Food Bank distributed 3 million pounds of produce to hungry people in the Mahoning Valley last year.”
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.
“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, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley asks supporters to share what they couldn’t do without adequate nutrition by writing on an empty 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.
The Food Bank is also asking the Mahoning Valley community to wear ORANGE, the symbolic color of hunger, on Hunger Action Day, September 8, and share the photos on social media. These photos can be posted to social media with #HungerActionMonth and @FeedingAmerica. Please tag us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SHFBMV/.
“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.”