Any time I talk about my work with my community or friends and family, the question that always gets asked of me is, “What can I do to end hunger?” or, “What is the long-term plan to completely end hunger in the U.S.?” While I have my own ideas and plans, I realize that I don’t know everything and so I read and listen to others’ plans to help develop my own opinions. This summer, I came across a well-written report, Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States, and an informative handbook, Beyond the Food Drive Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service. The two documents address the issue from different angles and I found that both are relevant and accurate, so who is correct?
A human rights approach to food shifts the focus from food assistance as charity to adequate food as a human right. The right to food is a universally recognized norm that calls on governments to ensure that all people have access to food that is safe and nutritious, meets their dietary needs, and is appropriate to their cultural backgrounds.
Nourishing Change advances the issue to a human rights approach, in the hands of the U.S. government. The idea is that the U.S. government needs to do more than just provide Domestic Nutrition Assistance Programs. They must take a deep look at poverty, and the policies and programs that are not supporting the needs of those living in poverty. The briefing paper calls for the U.S. government to take a holistic and multi-faceted approach to ensure all Americans have enough nutritious food, an approach that:
- Prioritizes the basic needs of all Americans,
- Ensures support for a robust social safety ne,
- Comprehensively tackles the root causes of food insecurity, and
- Fulfills the right to adequate food for all.
There is no one way to address te complex issue of hunger in America. It requires collaboration of individuals, nonprofits, policy makers, and companies banding together to find sustainable solutions. Hunger is not an issue that exists ‘somewhere’ in America but it lives in every county across the United States. Through voluntary citizen service, we can all do our part to help end hunger.
-Beyond the Food Drive
Beyond the Food Drive looks more directly at how the American people can get involved to bring system change and in that way, meet the needs of the food insecure. The guide does not discount any of the multitudes of public involvement, but does prioritize those citizen actions that can lead to the largest long-term impact. Those who are new to the work of hunger relief can find detailed directions on ten of the most common volunteer activities to end hunger as well as resources for those activities. Separate sections for volunteers and anti-hunger organizations provide insight into the activity preparation, resources and intended outcomes.
I encourage you to take a look at these two comprehensive resources and decide if one is correct or if they can both be accurate