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					8 MYTHS ABOUT HUNGER
IN AMERICA

                                            REALITY
MYTH 1                                      Abundance, not scarcity, best describes the world’s food supply. Enough
Hunger exists because                       wheat, rice, and other grains are produced globally to provide every human
                                            being with 3,500 calories a day – that’s 75% more calories per person than
there is not enough food                    are recommended in the USDA’s Nutritional Guidelines. Hunger persists in
                                            this country not because of a lack of food, but an absence of political will to
                                            solve the problem.


                                            REALITY
MYTH 2                                      Charitable organizations – including MAZON’s nationwide partners on the
It’s better for local                       front lines –were not designed to feed their entire community. Instead, these
                                            food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens were created to solve what were
charities to feed people,                   thought to be temporary or emergency situations, not systemic problems.
not the government.                         Most are open only a few days a week, and for a few hours of each day. They
                                            are largely volunteer run, often out of basements or closets at their local
                                            houses of worship, and they primarily distribute food that has been donated
                                            from within their communities. They simply could never have the capacity to
                                            feed the number of people who need help.


                                            REALITY
MYTH 3                                      Receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Government programs                         (SNAP, formerly food stamps) hardly enables anyone to live well. The
                                            average benefit equates to roughly $1.40 per person per meal. And in most
enable lazy people to live                  cases, the money runs out before the month ends – typically after only three
well on society’s dime.                     weeks – forcing families to rely on charity to eat. Government programs like
                                            SNAP are designed to ensure that people receive the sustenance they need
                                            so they can contribute back to society and get off these programs. How
                                            productive could we expect anyone to be if they haven’t eaten for days or
                                            weeks or longer?


                                            REALITY
MYTH 4                                      When many people think about where people might be going hungry, they
Hunger is only a                            often envision a city where the disparity between those who have and
                                            those who don’t is blatantly evident. Certainly food insecurity exists in
big city problem                            those cities, but every day, we at MAZON hear about the growing number
                                            of challenges that afflict suburban, rural, and remote areas of the country.
                                            And alleviating hunger in these areas can be much harder to do than in
                                            the cities, because those communities often have fewer opportunities to
                                            obtain needed resources and lack a sufficient transportation infrastructure
                                            to support food distribution.


                       10495 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 100 | Los Angeles, California 90025 | mazon.org | 800.813.0557
                                     REALITY
MYTH 5                               Many people believe that hungry people always look thin and emaciated.
You can’t be overweight              However, a growing body of research shows a startling correlation
                                     between obesity and hunger. The simple fact is this: people living in
and be food insecure.                poverty cannot afford enough food, and often, what little food they can
                                     afford is unhealthy and processed, with low nutritional value. They also
                                     tend to have far more limited access to healthy and affordable foods in
                                     their communities, and reduced opportunities for physical activity. It is
                                     the convergence of all these factors that has exacerbated the obesity
                                     epidemic among those who are, in fact, hungry.


                                     REALITY
MYTH 6                               As the nation’s unemployment rate hovers at 9%, SNAP provides a vital
People on SNAP just                  lifeline so that people and their families can eat while they search for
                                     work. In fact, this important and effective program is designed to expand
need to get a job                    and contract in relation to unemployment – in other words, for caseloads
                                     to rise as unemployment rises and fall as the economy recovers. 40% of
                                     households receiving SNAP benefits have at least one working person.


                                     REALITY
MYTH 7                               SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public
SNAP is rife with waste,             benefit program. States must conduct regular “quality control” reviews
                                     of SNAP case files to ensure that benefits are accurately distributed.
fraud and abuse                      And ongoing improvements to regulate the program have kept fraud
                                     and abuse to a historic low of less than 2%. The truth is that the
                                     overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients follow the rules because they
                                     desperately need help ensuring their family has food to eat.


                                     REALITY
MYTH 8                               There is no doubt that hungry people would rather not be hungry and may
“Hunger can be a                     try to do everything they can to avoid it in the future. But that same hunger
                                     also hinders their ability to take such action. Being hungry can be all-
 positive motivator”                 consuming and distracting, which in turn decreases productivity in working
       - Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-MO)   adults, and negatively impacts unemployed people’s ability to get jobs. And
                                     for children, chronic hunger has devastating effects, impacting their physical
                                     development, and making it nearly impossible to learn. In both the short and
                                     long term, having a substantial population of hungry people - be they adults
                                     or children - impedes the country’s economic prosperity for everyone.

				
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