Note: Today, I’m participating in Bloggers Against Hunger, a movement started by my good friend Lauren J.
I moved to the great State of Maine about two and a half years ago, and I won’t lie– it’s been a struggle. Starting over in a new place is rarely easy, and the scarce job prospects didn’t help. Going back to college last September was the best move I ever made– in the present, and for my future.
I’m certainly not going to starve any time soon– the medical profession calls my body type “famine-proof”. I have learned to live on very little money. Still, I’ve had some moments in between bi-weekly paychecks where I didn’t even have a handful of change to buy a box of pasta.
A lot of people are by far worse off than I’ve ever been, but I understand the pain. I’m finally getting on my feet, and I look forward to being in a position where I can do more than just write a blog to support the cause of hunger.
To raise awareness of the problem of hunger in Maine, here are some statistics from the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
- More than 40% of Maine kids under the age of 12 show some evidence of hunger
- 19,375 Maine children are hungry.
- An additional 64,087 children are at risk of hunger.
- 10% of Maine households, representing 141,000 people, experience food insecurity.
- Hunger and the risk of hunger are widespread among Maine’s low-income families with children.
- The likelihood of experiencing hunger or the risk of hunger is directly related to income.
- Children living in households which experienced hunger or the risk of hunger are more likely to experience health or school-related problems.
- Adults are even more likely to experience hunger in low income homes. Adults in four out of five households surveyed indicated that they sacrificed for their children by eating less, skipping meals entirely, or by eating less nutritional food.
- Several groups are found to be at greater risk of hunger in Maine; children, adults in low income families, disabled persons, persons with special needs, the elderly, those living in rural regions and the inner cities of Maine’s largest urban places.
- One in three jobs in Maine does not pay enough to cover the basic needs of a family of three. Many others are seasonal, less than full time, or offer only partial benefits.
- Several factors contribute to hunger in Maine; including income growth that is outpaced by cost of living; high level of underemployment; widening gap between rich and poor; illiteracy; and lack of consumer information on nutrition.
Here’s a heart-breaking series of articles on the subject: For I Was Hungry, an in-depth look at hunger in Maine
How to help: Good Shepherd Food Bank