As food security continues to be an issue for many Americans in the wake of the Great Recession, Hunger Action Month seeks to spotlight the problem and inspire people to do something about it. According to the USDA, a family is food insecure if they have a limited or uncertain ability to acquire safe and nutritious food. NPR’s All Things Considered just reported on recent government figures and it turns out this definition applies to 1 in 5 children living in American today. That’s 16.6 million children who are at risk of not having their nutritional needs met during a critical period in their development.
And it’s not just families with children who have limited or uncertain means of obtaining food. According to a 2011 AARP report, a growing number of people age 40 to 59 are having trouble putting food on the table. People ages 50 to 59, they point out, face multiple obstacles after a job loss, often finding it difficult to obtain new employment and if they do it is usually for less money. Not yet old enough for Social Security and other age specific safety net programs, they are also unlikely to have children in their household to qualify them for other forms of assistance. What’s more, this age group has a rather low uptake in SNAP benefits, the one program for which many would qualify, perhaps due to reluctance or lack of awareness.
Meeting the needs of hungry families has proved to be a struggle throughout the country, and here in Tulsa, Oklahoma it is no different. There are several charitable food programs, but the funding has to come from somewhere. Many charities, such as Meals on Wheels, do not receive government funds and instead depend solely on private contributions. Local charities are eager to accept donations year round, of course, but as part of Hunger Action Month over 30 Tulsa restaurants are participating in a special fundraiser. This year Restaurant Week will take place Sept. 8-16. This event not only raises awareness but last year contributed over $50,000 to help feed Tulsa children. Specially priced lunch or dinner menus are being offered by participating restaurants, and 10% of the proceeds go to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma’s Food for Kids program.
You can learn about other ways to take action this month by checking out CFBEO’s Hunger Action Month page.
Tulsa People wrote an article about Restaurant Week with links to the menus of participating restaurants.
The Tulsa World has also covered Restaurant Week, and their story is available by clicking here.