Hunger in the USA

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Lisa Hale, a volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank, stocks shelves at the food bank in Washington, Monday, Oct. 27, 2008. Calls to the Capital Area Food Bank's Hunger Lifeline, an emergency food referral system in Washington, D.C., increased 248 percent in the past six months versus last year, said spokeswoman Kasandra Gunter Robinson. (AP)
Lisa Hale, a volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank, stocks shelves at the food bank in Washington on Oct. 27, 2008. (AP)

Here’s a sign of the times in these United States: Americans who volunteered at soup kitchens and food banks suddenly finding themselves lining up there, for a meal.

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds 36 million Americans living “food insecure.” The everyday translation of that can easily be “hungry.”

Food prices are up. So is joblessness. And hunger — in a country where obesity and hunger can live very close to one another.

This hour, On Point: Our daily bread. We’ll take a look at hard times and hunger in the United States.

You can join the conversation. What do you know about hunger in this country? Do you see it in your schools, your neighborhood? Have you lived with it? Is your town’s food bank getting cleaned out these days? Share your thoughts.Guests:

Joining us from New York is Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. An expert on hunger in America, he served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration, as Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning, Coordinator of Community Food Security, and Director of National Service. His new book is "All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?"
Read an excerpt from "All You Can Eat."

From Oakland, Calif., we're joined by Jessica Bartholow, director of Programs for the California Association of Food Banks.

This program aired on December 15, 2008.


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