? According to the USDA, from 2005 to 2007, more than ten percent of California residents were hungry or at risk for hunger – and that was before the recent economic crisis. High food prices and skyrocketing unemployment have only made things worse, as millions of additional Americans have been forced to join the lines at soup kitchens and food pantries in California and across the country.
? In 2006, California ranked last in food stamp participation among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a 2008 USDA report. (Note: The Federal Food Stamp Program was recently re-named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.)
? At last tally, in 2007, 36.2 million Americans lived in homes that couldn’t afford enough food – including more than 12 million children.
? According to a Harvard study, hunger costs our country an estimated $90 billion per year in decreased worker productivity, impaired educational performance, and increased health care spending.
? Reform, streamline, yet increase the purchasing power of more than a dozen existing federal government nutrition programs, like food stamps and school meals.
? Provide universal, free school breakfasts in classrooms to all students, regardless of family income.
? Implement a national plan to increase living wage jobs and slash poverty.
? Give charities the resources they need to fill in the gaps after government has done its job.