Here’s what people facing food insecurity want you to know about solving the hunger problem in America
Even though America is the world’s wealthiest nation, about 1 in 6 of our neighbors turned to food banks and community programs in order to feed themselves and their families last year. Think about it: More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021 (1 in 8 children).
In order to solve a problem, we must first understand it. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its second annual Elevating Voices: Insights Report and turned to the experts—people experiencing hunger—to find out how this issue can be solved once and for all.
Here are the four most important things people facing hunger want you to know.
Hunger is still an urgent crisis despite signs of economic recovery. In the months following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, headlines report that the nation’s economic health is bouncing back after years of hardship. However, a big chunk of our population is experiencing a different reality. Recovery has been uneven nationwide, and grocery prices are still higher than normal despite easing supply chain issues. With the end of the federal support offered throughout the pandemic, child poverty rates have shot up, and families like Donnette McManus’ are feeling the squeeze.
“Even though you have your list, you have your budget, things are changing so quickly. Your salary can’t keep up. So, you get to the store with the same exact list, the same 10 items can cost you 50% more,” said McManus, who lives in Massachusetts.
Feeding America Insights Report
People facing hunger say that ending food insecurity is about more than just food. Ending hunger may sound like a simple task: make sure everyone, regardless of who they are and where they live, has access to the food they need. However, as neighbor-advocate Jennifer Estrada of Wisconsin pointed out, the reality is a bit more complex, especially considering that hunger is only a symptom of bigger economic challenges.
“As much as you work, the system is set up for you to continue in a cycle of food insecurity,” said Estrada. “Your whole check goes to a rent payment if you’re not fortunate enough to own a house, with nothing leftover. But you get kicked off if you make $2 more. There needs to be some security, there needs to be a revamping of the whole system ... It seems like instead of creating less barriers to help the families in our community, it seems like policies and procedures continue to make more barriers.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the 2023Insights Report is that housing is unaffordable. Working 40+ hours a week still isn’t enough to get by for many folks. Stopping hunger in its tracks is as much about strengthening economic well-being as it is about providing equitable access to enough nourishing food.
Hunger is an issue that intersects with more than what we put on our plates. Hunger strikes without discrimination, affecting anyone, anywhere, at any time. Millions of people in the U.S. are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from experiencing food insecurity. Due to a long history of racism, discrimination, and oppression in our country, hunger impacts some communities more than others, including communities of color and communities in rural areas.
While the impact of hunger is widespread, people facing it note that the stigma associated with it can strip people of their dignity or deter them from accessing the food assistance programs they’re eligible for and need. There are also inequitable systems in place that do not work for everyone.
“Your basic clerk at your local DHS [Department of Human Services] office is only employed to input information and output information back to you. A lot of times, you feel like you’re not even a human. You’re just a number to them. And if I’m just going to be a number to you, I have a mental meltdown,” said Kimberly Harris, a resident of Washington, D.C.
Feeding America Insights Report
Ending food insecurity requires a catalyzing movement. While hunger remains a widespread and persistent problem, our country already has the tools to eradicate it forever—they just need to be utilized. Most people facing hunger said that federal and local governments should treat hunger as an urgent crisis—signaling that it will take all of us to bring hunger to a halt.
So how can you take action right now? Do your part and visit FeedingAmerica.org/ElevatingVoices to read the 2023 Elevating Voices: Insights Report and sign a petition to encourage Congress to pass legislation that will help ensure no one in America goes hungry. Let’s all pitch in to make the wealthiest nation become the happiest and most prosperous—for all.
A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.
It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.
Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.
See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.
Once the dog was in their house, they noticed that their cats started behaving strangely towards their canine sibling. The cats started attacking the dog, likely trying to get it to tell them what they did with their real dog sister. Cat slaps and a house full of strange people didn't dampen the imposter's spirit though, in fact, that's what helped reveal the switcharoo.
This dog kept handing out face kisses and had no interest in seeing her favorite neighbor. After putting all of those things together, the owners decided to hightail it to the vet's office to scan the dog's microchip. Alas, they indeed had the wrong dog.
"We just never even thought that that would happen, and of course we thought we would know right? Like we're her parents, we would know something was wrong, we would know right off the bat that it wasn't Emmy," Kebby Kelley told Fox 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Seems both golden retrievers got to go on a really strange adventure that deserves a lifetime of delicious dog treats for the confusion.
See both sweet pups below:
Costco really is the best.
Imagine your 12-year-old son is helping take part in his school’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser. You’d probably be proud and encouraged at the way he’s getting involved and doing something good, right?
Now imagine, as part of that effort, he decided to email the CEO of Costco, one of the most beloved big box retailers in the world. Well, that’s cute, right? But what if he told you the CEO not only wrote back but went out of his way to donate exactly what your son asked for?
It may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what happened when Grant Cerwin sent an email to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. The sixth grader emailed Jelinek asking if he would donate one of Costco’s famous 93-inch teddy bears to his middle school’s fundraiser in Los Angeles:
“Hi Mr. Jelinek,
My name is Grant Cerwin and I am 12 years old. I go to [removed] Middle School and am the 6th grade class rep. We want to raffle one of your giant bears as a Valentine’s Day fundraiser for our school. We are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Is there any chance Costco might donate one? My dad has a truck and we could come get it at the store. I would make sure everyone knew you gave it to us in our school newsletter, on social media and with a big sign by the bear. I know it is a long shot but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. We are also seeing how we might get enough money to buy one. Thanks for considering. Your friend, Grant.”
12-year-old student Grant Cerwin writes to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek
Well, it turns out the long shot was perfectly timed.
Jelinek not only saw the email but jumped into action, asking his colleague "Can we find him a teddy?" Then his lieutenant emailed their colleagues to quickly find a bear for Cerwin’s school, writing: “Do whatever it takes to find a Big Bear and set up pick up for Lesley. Keep me posted.”
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek steps in to help
Grant then received the following message from Costco:
“Good morning Grant. I am the Toy Supervisor at our Costco’s LA Regional office. I have good news, Costco will be donating a 93” Plush Bear to your school to use in your Valentine’s Day fundraiser! We could have it delivered to the school directly so your parents don’t have to worry about transporting it.”
Costco reached out directly to Grant Cerwin to help
With time to spare, the Big Bear was delivered to Grant and his school was able to include it in their fundraiser. And while moments like this don’t happen every day, they are a great reminder that even the biggest companies are run by real people and those people often have big hearts. Big, as in 93” plush bear big.
And let’s be honest, we’re not entirely shocked that this happened at Costco, a company that has built a well-earned reputation for treating both its customers and its employees with dignity and respect.
“It speaks volumes about the leadership at Costco that Grant got the response he did,” Grant’s mother Lesley Cerwin told Upworthy. “He is a boundlessly optimistic child and as a parent you worry the world will chip away at that positivity. I’m grateful that the team at Costco reaffirmed my son’s belief that the world is full of good people.”
“I couldn’t believe that they responded so fast and that so many people helped,” Grant told Upworthy. “They didn’t want anything, just to help our school.”
The Costco bear was delivered to Grant Cerwin and his classmates
Something as seemingly simple as a donated teddy bear might not sound like much, but it’s examples like this that show the power of bridge-building between companies and communities.
An act of kindness in itself can go a long way. And when that is coupled with the impact it had not only on Grant and his mom, but on Grant’s classmates, you can start to see a real impact that all started with a single email.
Grant Cerwin and his classmates pose with the Costco bear.
“My teachers and friends at school are excited,” Grant said. “We all can’t believe how big it is. It takes a bunch of us to move it around. Our ASB class is working on a thank you card.”
Plus, let’s be honest, a personal touch from someone as high-profile as Craig Jelinek and his team isn’t a bad way to build customer loyalty either. As Lesley told us, “I’ve always liked Costco. Will I be even happier to shop there now? You bet. It is a great store and now I am acutely aware that it is run by amazing people.”
This article originally appeared on 2.16.23
- 17-year-old runs up and shoves mama bear off a wall in her backyard to protect her dogs ›
- Watch an adorably goofy video of 20-year-old Keanu Reeves at a teddy bear convention ›
- She quit teaching, works at Costco, and has 'never been happier.' That says something. ›
- Why you should never question the Costco cake order process - Upworthy ›
- Couple saves $1000 on vacation package through Costco Travel - Upworthy ›
Thousands of concertgoers in Poland randomly decided to sing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and it was flawless
The music of Queen is a universal language.
The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.
It wasn’t long before the entire stadium was singing along to that beloved tune and acing every single lyric. As one person commented on YouTube, even though most people in Warsaw don’t speak English, “they sing Queen.”
The passionate impromptu performance serves as a reminder of how special both Queen and the late Freddie Mercury remain today.
“No other band will ever come close to Queen. They were lightning in a bottle and Freddie was a whale in a teardrop. Once people keep singing his words, FM will live on forever,” another YouTube viewer wrote.
Indeed, seeing an entire stadium come alive with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you can’t help but feel Mercury’s soul return to the mortal plane, as if we’ve all been transported back to that historic Live Aid concert in 1985 when he had the entirety of Wembley Stadium wrapped around his finger for 21 glorious minutes.
Watch below, and try not to sing along. Scratch that—sing your heart out.
This article originally appeared on 7.14.23
Have you ever wondered if laughter counts as exercise? After all, your heart rate increases, your muscles seize up and sometimes you can't even breathe. That sure sounds like exercise.
Actually, laughter does burn extra calories. If you can keep the giggles going for 10-15 minutes, you can burn 40 calories. Do that a few times a day, and you've not only gotten in a decent burn for not a lot of work, but you've also given your immune system a boost and lowered your blood sugar levels.
If you're looking for a laugh, we've got a few things here that ought to do the trick. And we've got a bunch of other things that are definitely worth smiling about, so if you could use a mood boost, we've got you.
1. Watch this papa singing to his baby boy during a 'Ragtime' rehearsal
Pardon me, but my ovaries just exploded. Next.
2. Dad proudly shows off his yo-yo moves and it's seriously impressive
The ski lift? Are you kidding me?
3. Owner of three huskies realizes she's the problem as they escalate into full husky mode
When you finally realize you’re the problem #fypシ #huskylife #foryoupage #funnydogs #siren #howling #howl #dogcomedy #dogsvideo #cutedog #howlingwolf #viral #dog #husky #humor #doghumor #chaos #imtheproblem
How dare she ask such a question! Fluff outta here, Karen. (Also, why are huskies so very extra?)
4. Woman mistakes a stranger for someone she knows in the most epically embarrassing way possible
This is what happens when you’re a hugger! #Mybad #whoopsieDaisies #comedy #laughing #fyp
"Who does that? Me." Can you even imagine? Read the full story here.
5. Speaking of embarrassment, check out this kid's awesome response to his mom trying to embarrass him at school pickup
That kid's gonna go far in life. Love it.
6. Andy Grammer shares how he 'goes on offense' against grief and it's utterly heartwarming
Go on offense with grief 🖤 #grief #loss #lossofaparent
Such a beautiful approach to navigating grief. Read the full story here.
7. People are having a chuckle over the notes a previous homeowner left during a bathroom remodel
"What's wrong with the way we did it?!?!?" HA. Swipe to see the bunny, too! Gotta love a couple with a sense of humor. Read the full story here.
8. Baby becomes 'tall woman' and her facial expressions are on point
She living her best life
Adorable. Read the full story here.
9. This kid's got smooth dance moves for days
He's so serious about it, too. So good.
10. Heyyyy, introverts who let their freak flag fly around their select few, we see you
"If only people could see you now." We all know—or perhaps are—one of these people. Reserved in public, goofballs in private. Gotta love it.
If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of them right in your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter, "The Upworthiest," here.
Keep smiling, everyone!
Hearing impaired performers come together in perfect synchronization to share a beautiful message.
In a world full of jaw-dropping dance routines, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin manages to captivate like no other.
A large group of performers in identical golden costumes flow together in synchronized movement so seamlessly that it appears as though one entity with several arms is moving about space.
That entity is Guan Yin, a goddess of compassion who, according to Buddhist legend, will never rest in nirvana as long as any sentient being suffers on Earth.
Guan Yin is often depicted with a thousand arms, having an eye in the palm of each hand, to symbolize an omnipresent mother figure always witnessing the pain of humanity with endless amounts of mercy, extending out one of her many arms to lend a helping hand.
The performers emulate this with intricate, delicate hand gestures while standing very close to one another, resulting in a mesmerizing optical illusion.
But the dance in and of itself isn't the most remarkable thing about this piece—each of the performers are hearing impaired.
Renowned Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang (also known for large scale numbers like 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony) created the piece with The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe back in 1987 to further emphasize inclusivity and compassion.
The Thousand Hand Guan Yin is one of China's most famous dances
While the first iteration consisted of around 20 performers, that number has exponentially increased to between 60-80. Knowing that each of these dancers were able to sync up so flawlessly without relying on music really does make it all the more powerful.
Today, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin remains one of China’s most well known and most beloved dance routines. And thanks to the internet, we too can be inspired by its wondrous spectacle and important message.
"Validation is like a drug and intimacy is the ultimate validation."
Infidelity is devastating for relationships. When you find out a partner has been unfaithful it can feel like a bomb went off in the middle of your living room while you were just trying to drink your morning coffee. The carnage from an affair can be extensive, especially if there are children involved.
But no matter what circumstances the infidelity happened, the partner who was on the receiving end of the betrayal often wonders why? It can send some people in a spiral of shame and self blame for the actions of their partners which feel debilitating. Oftentimes, the betrayed partner never feels like they get a truthful answer from their partners but one Reddit user decided to invite partners that have strayed to explain why they cheated.
Surprisingly, many of the answers were extremely insightful seemingly showing extraordinary growth since that time in their lives. There was also a lot of remorse expressed for their previous harmful behaviors.
"When you grow up being in turn neglected and told you're not good enough, validation is like a drug, and intimacy is the ultimate validation. Sooooo much therapy to undo this," one person reveals.
"Insecurity. I was always on the look out for someone who would make me feel more desirable than the last. Once I grew up emotionally, I realised [sic] what a POS I was & the hurt it caused. Hard to live with tbh. Edit. Can I just make it clear I was not a serial adulterer… It was a youthful lack of judgement," another person writes.
"Unbridled ego, unsatisfying regular sex life, and a girl who threw herself at me. I was an idiot, I acted like an a*****e, and I will regret it the rest of my life," one commenter says before continuing. "It was a hard truth to face. It was a dark time in my life where my ego and my immaturity caused me to hurt several people I loved."
"Because I chose a cowardly and easy path. Instead of going to therapy and ending my toxic relationship, I cheated on them with someone who I had convinced myself I was in love with, and loved me. Turns out, breaking up with someone is a lot less harmful to everyone involved than cheating," someone else writes.
An interesting theme that someone who has experienced the pain of infidelity may notice is that there's no blame placed on the betrayed partner. The people that answered this prompt admit that the affair was completely within their control and most say they learned from it.
Dr. Kathy Nickerson is a licensed clinical psychologist that specializes in affair recovery, she's also the author of the book The Courage to Stay: How to Heal from an Affair and Save Your Marriage. Nickerson has teamed up with other mental health professionals to research why people have affairs and has been revealing the earliest results on her TikTok page.
One of the preliminary results falls in line with what many of the commenters were sharing on the Reddit post, a lot of people that cheat are in some sort of emotional pain.
"In our recent affairs survey, we asked over 1400 cheating partners, was an affair a painkiller," Nickerson says, revealing that 64.8% of women and 59.9% of men agreed or strongly agreed with the affair being a painkiller. When asking "did you choose the affair to cope with emotional pain," 68.2% of women and 70.2% of men answered in the affirmative.
In another video, Nickerson revealed that the saying, "once a cheater always a cheater" may actually be inaccurate based on the preliminary research results. According to the initial survey for cheating partners, 59.89% reported only having one affair.
If there's one take away from the eye opening responses in the Reddit post and the early research results from Nickerson, it's that cheating has very little to do with the person being cheated on and people don't always cheat again. You can follow along with Nickerson's research here, and if you're healing from infidelity while choosing to stay partnered, you can buy her book here.