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:
The Harvard report has 3 major takeaways.
"It may be the most important thing we do in life; learn how to love and be loved."
At least, that's according to Harvard psychologist and researcher Rick Weissbourd.
He's been collecting data on the sex and love habits of young people for years through surveys, interviews, and even informal conversation — with teens and the important people in their lives.
Through it all, one thing has been abundantly clear:
"We spend enormous amount of attention helping parents prepare their kids for work and school," Weissbourd says. "We do almost nothing to prepare them for the tender, tough, subtle, generous, focused work of developing mature healthy relationships. I'm troubled by that."
Now he and his team have finally compiled five years of intense research that asks the question, "What do young people really think about sex and love?"
And maybe just as important: "How should we be preparing them?"
Here are three major takeaways from the groundbreaking new report:
1. Hookup culture might just be a big ol' myth.
Everybody's hooking up with everybody these days, right? Not so fast.
The Harvard report presents a startling statistic from a related study in 2008. A group of college students in the U.S. were asked what percentage of guys on campus they thought had sex on any given weekend. They guessed about 80%. The reality? As low as 5%.
Weissbourd notes that because hookups are so culturally visible (especially in college) and gossiped about, it creates a perception that they're a lot more common than they actually are.
The Harvard study itself found, in fact, that most young people are a lot more interested in sex within a committed relationship or, shockingly(!), things that don't involve sex at all.
What it means for parents: We as adults, unfortunately, play a big role in this pervasive and harmful myth. "In every era there've been complaints about how sexually out of control kids are," Weissbourd says. "It's a story adults really love to tell."
When we play up this stereotype, the study finds it can actually make young people less likely to seek advice or to talk about sex and relationships because they may feel inadequate or embarrassed about their lack of experience.
2. Sexual harassment and assault, however, remain huge, unaddressed problems.
"There are a significant number of young men out there who think that all they can't do is rape someone," Weissbourd says. "They can't drag someone in an alley to rape them."
What many of them have very little concept of, he says, is how harmful and dangerous behaviors like catcalling, pressuring, and coercion can be.
The study cites endless instances of girls being harassed at school, complaining to administration, staging walkouts; anything to get the problem addressed. But the "boys will be boys" attitude persists, and problems are often swept under the rug rather than tackled head-on.
A culture of sexual violence is harmful for obvious reasons, but the report also found these kinds of attitudes can bleed over into relationships that can "disproportionately involve females servicing males."
What it means for parents: Talk. to. your. kids. about. consent.
"I was really surprised how many parents had not had basic conversations with their kids about things like consent, or how to avoid sexually harassing a person," Weissbourd says.
We have to make it crystal clear to young people what kinds of behavior are and aren't acceptable, and follow up those lines with real consequences. It's the only way things are ever going to change.
3. Teens and young adults want more guidance than we're giving them.
Most parents aren't thrilled about having "the talk," and admittedly, bringing up the topic of sex with a teen is no easy task.
But with all this dread and hand-wringing over how to talk about the birds and the bees, the Harvard report notes that many parents are overlooking a much bigger topic: love and relationships.
Roughly 70% of surveyed young adults reported wishing they had received more or better guidance on the emotional aspects of relationships, both from parents or from health class. But it's not just a hindsight thing.
Many parents are overlooking a much bigger topic: love and relationships.
"The percentage of young people who want guidance on romantic relationships was encouraging," Weissbourd says. "Kids light up when they are talking about love and what love is and what does it mean. That was surprising and really encouraging."
What it means for parents: When you're done teaching your teenager how to put a condom on a banana, make sure to spend some time talking about the day-to-day work that goes into building a healthy relationship.
That means going beyond platitudes. The Harvard team suggests diving into more complex questions like, What's the difference between attraction, infatuation, and love? How can we be more attracted to people the less interested they are in us? Why can we be attracted to people who are unhealthy for us?
Those are questions some of us might not even have the answer to, but having the honest conversation with our kids is a major step in helping them learn how to love and be loved.
As Weissbourd says, it's one of the most important things we'll ever do.
The full report tackles even more and is jam-packed with must-know findings and statistics. It's definitely worth a read.
This article originally appeared on 05.18.17
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
Mom gives master class rant about how impossible it is to have kids in sports while working full time
"It just doesn't even make sense."
Being a mom can be challenging enough, but when you add in working full time and kids activities, it feels like you need a few clones to help you out. Recently we signed our youngest up for soccer, he's 5-years-old and happens to be ten years younger than his closest sibling, so I've done the sports stuff.
At one point I was working full-time while my daughter took tap, ballet and jazz while also on a soccer team and my two older boys played soccer, baseball and football. We rarely saw the inside of our home unless it was to sleep, I'm not even sure I knew how my stove worked during those years. Now here we are starting all over again.
So when Mo, a mom running the TikTok page Rex & Mo posted a video ranting about how impossible it feels to add organized activities for kids into the mix, parents everywhere related, myself included.
In the video, Mo explains that her oldest child recently started playing football and she's finding the additional responsibility to be a bit much.
"Being a working mom with children that have extracurricular activities is unrealistic and just...it is so hard," Mo says. "It just doesn't even make sense. It just feels unsustainable, like how long am I going to be able to do this?"
She goes on to reveal her routine which includes going to work, picking up her younger kids from daycare, taking her son to football practice, then somehow finding time to feed and bathe the children. The mom didn't mention homework but it's safe to assume that is squished in there somewhere. It's still early in the season so she may not be fully initiated to know that on game days parents rotate team snacks, including drinks. Other sports moms were quick to commiserate in the comments.
"I'm over her fighting for my life sis," one woman writes.
"The joy I feel when they cancel a practice," another mom shares.
"All I do is drive around ALL NIGHT LONG and eat dinner at 10 pm... hang in there mama," someone says.
The amount of constant calculation it takes to get everyone where they need to be on time while also making sure things don't fall behind is a sport in itself.
Watch the relatable rant below:
S/O to my husband cause he work too & coaches but when i get home these HIS KIDS 😂😂😂 #rexandmo #fyp
We all need somewhere safe to go.
Editor's Note: This story discusses suicide. If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
This secondary offering has lately been overshadowed by political controversy, as there has been a laser focus from conservatives on the types of literature libraries provide, especially titles that pertain to LGBTQ and racial topics.
But one librarian’s retelling of a life saving encounter reminds us of how essential these community spaces really are—and it has nothing to do with books at all.
Mychel Threets, who works at the Solano County Library in Northern California, has an entire Instagram and TikTok account dedicated to library life.
While his videos are quite often book reviews and tips, he also has plenty of his own inspiring stories involving patron interactions that show how libraries can be catalysts for human kindness.
Like this one:
@mychal3ts The library is where you belong, where you’ll ALWAYS belong 💚✨ #booktok #librarytiktok #storytime ♬ original sound - mychal
Recently Threets had been going about his regular chores, when he saw a patron who appeared to be homeless. Threets had greeted this person like he would anyone else, but, as many unhoused individuals are met with hostility, this person assumed Threets was trying to shoo him away.
"They start grabbing their bag, saying, I'm leaving, I'm leaving, I'll go, okay," Threets said. After Threets assured the person that "I want you to be here in the library," and asked if they were okay, the patron replied "my brain hurts.”
Threets considered this statement as "an incredibly interesting way to say that you're struggling with your mental health."
As Threets continued to listen, the persons went on to say that a few days prior they had wanted to “unalive themselves” and “didn’t think anybody cared.” But because Threets and the rest of the Solano Library staff were kind to them, their feelings had changed.
Threets noted with enthusiasm that this exchange perfectly captured "the power of the library, of connection, of interrupting someone's day with a simple greeting, with saying hi."
Threets has even learned that this person had come to the library every week as a kid, and clearly still found the space to be a safe haven.
"That is a grown-up library kid who needs help, who needs someone to tell them that they belong,” he said. “I’m so proud that my library people made them feel welcome.”
Third spaces—that is, places to gather that aren’t work or home, like cafes, gyms, parks, malls, etc.—are already dwindling in America. The ones that do remain aren’t always free, and certainly are not always welcoming to everyone.
Libraries, however, are a third space that meet this criteria, and it’s partially why Americans continue to value the role public libraries play in their community. In a time when underfunding and culture wars threaten these vital spaces, it’s important to remember the true service they provide.
As Threets eloquently put it. "That's all that we're trying to do in this world together is exist.... Come to the library where you belong."
When founder Zack Gazzaniga decided to start his own tortilla chip company, Zack's Mighty, his mission was to create a delicious chip that didn’t break in guacamole.
His quest to create the perfect chip took him to Italy, where he acquired Otto File flint corn (a very flavorful variety of flint corn now mostly grown in Italy for polenta), and then back to the U.S. to plant and grow it.
When connecting with farms to partner with to grow the corn, Zack began learning about regenerative agriculture and its benefits for the soil and climate. “Regenerative agriculture made so much sense to me that I decided then that this would be a pillar of our business and a mandate that everyone who grows our corn follows regenerative practices,” he says.
Regenerative agriculture combines conservation and rehabilitation practices to improve farmland soil and combat climate change. These practices include less tillage, crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting.
One of the farmers Zack connected with to grow organic and regenerative corn was Bryce Irlbeck in Manning, Iowa. “We began [fully] regenerative farming in 2019, but have been doing different aspects such as cover cropping and crop rotation for 10 years.”
Bryce’s farm in Iowa was one of Zack’s Mighty’s partner farms that spent two years in partnership with A Greener World, evaluating farm standards, plans, and auditing procedures to receive Certified Regenerative certification. This certification provides a whole-farm assurance of regeneration and sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare, and social responsibility. As of August 2022, all of Zack’s Mighty partner farms were officially certified.
Bryce’s advice to farmers looking to begin regenerative practices is to first “focus on figuring out a [crop] rotation since each area of the country will be different due to markets and weather patterns.”
Zack’s Mighty is thrilled to have cultivated a supply chain that uses organic ingredients and Certified Regenerative corn — ensuring its customers can be proud to align their values with their purchase.
“Our mission to make the best tortilla chip on the market starts with our ingredients and how they are produced. We want to assure our customers that we value transparency and source only high-quality ingredients to create delicious products that are truly good for the planet,” says Zack.