I want 2012 to be a better year for hungry people!
The United States is a great country with great wealth and unprecedented abundance. Within that country lies an invisible and destructive problem: food insecurity, which is a formal way of saying that people are chronically unsure if or when they’ll have their next meal. That anyone in America should struggle to eat isn’t just unthinkable, and isn’t just a shame. It’s a scandal.
Far too many of us assume – incorrectly – that hunger couldn’t possibly exist in our neighborhoods. And yet, it’s a daily reality for far too many of us:
In the United States, 50.1 million people, including 17 million children , struggle to get enough nutritious food to eat every day. That’s 16.6% of the nation’s population – 1 out of every 7 people.
16.7% of people in California – more than 6 million people – are food insecure.All but one county in the greater Los Angeles metro area surpasses the national average for food insecurity:
- Los Angeles County: 17.4%
- San Bernardino County: 18.2%
- Riverside County: 18%
- Orange County: 13.1%
Hunger is a complex problem, and changing the existing paradigm will require a sophisticated solution. Charity alone can never provide for every hungry person in the country – nor was it designed to. That’s why MAZON endorses a public-private partnership strategy, with the federal government and charity each playing a distinct and important role to ensure that all Americans have enough nutritious food to thrive. But for that strategy to work, our legislators must commit to appropriate levels of funding for federal nutrition programs.
We have the power – individually and collectively – to bring help and hope to those who struggle. Every voice matters in this debate – so add yours, and become part of the solution. Join with MAZON today as we work to transform how it is into how it should be.
There are many ways to get involved in the fight to end hunger in America. Pick just one, or do them all – it’s entirely up to you.
- Donate to a reputable nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger, like MAZON. The nation’s network of nonprofit organizations are shouldering an incredible burden in this challenging economy, and cannot continue to do so without your support.
- Raise your voice on behalf of those who need help. Write, call or email your legislators to express your outrage about the prevalence of hunger in America, and to ask them what they’re doing to strengthen the nutrition safety net.
- Volunteer your time, and encourage others to do the same
- Educate yourself about the issue of hunger and its impact in your neighborhood, city, state and nation.
- Raise awareness about the prevalence of hunger within your community. If everyone in the country understood the extent of the problem, we’d be that much closer to ending it.
THIS IS HUNGER is a project of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds. THIS IS HUNGER is an artistic expression of a harsh reality in this country – pervasive and devastating hunger. THIS IS HUNGER is intended to serve multiple purposes: to help increase awareness of the prevalence of hunger in America; to challenge people’s misconceptions and preconceived notions about who struggles with hunger in this country; and to encourage everyone to get involved in advocacy efforts to end the problem once and for all.
About the Artists:
Phil Donney (aka L.A. Phil) grew up in Los Angeles's Fairfax (“Bagel”) District listening to and becoming heavily influenced by local and international musicians, entertainers and activists. Phil began honing his passion for music as a student at Hamilton High's Music Academy, after which he joined magnanimous hip-hop crew, The Architekz. He spent a year in Ghana studying, performing, and teaching music to elementary school children while earning a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. On top of cutting tracks with The Architekz, Phil is currently working towards a Master's in Social Work at California State University, Northridge. He is honored to be a part of MAZON's This is Hunger movement and looks forward to participating in future efforts.
Music is a grounding force for Justin Meece (aka J*Phoenix). He began to channel his musical energy in the 9th grade, using free class time to write lyrics, which led to his involvement school play productions and campus concerts. After transferring to Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, he built strong relationships with the founders of the hip-hop and humanitarian group, The Architekz, eventually joining them in their quest to regenerate music in a positive, world-lifting format. Justin’s personal goals are to promote the use of green energy and to encourage people to join the fights against poverty and world hunger.
A Los Angeles native, Jared White has had a camera in hand all his life. He is a director of films, commercials, and music videos with a focus on compelling stories, engaging characters, and rich visuals. Jared earned his B.A. in Film Production at Cal State Northridge. Since that time, his films have frequented the festival circuit, and his commercial work has helped launch brands and received national television exposure. He believes that the arts can be a powerful tool in raising awareness, and is proud to have contributed to MAZON's fight against hunger.