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Harmony Hobbs


How to end hunger, according to the people who face it daily

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.

Photo courtesy of CARE.org

You may be surprised to learn the following facts about the leading cause of death worldwide:

  1. It affects women far more than men
  2. It’s a completely preventable problem
  3. It’s hunger.

    Nearly a year has passed since Russian forces arrived in Ukraine, sparking one of the largest military conflicts since the end of World War II. Civilian suffering is by far the greatest casualty of this war; the United Nations estimates that 17.6 million people in Ukraine will require humanitarian assistance in the coming months.

    Over half are women and girls.

    Photo courtesy of CARE.org

    Honestly, it makes sense: it is women who are tasked with fleeing from their war-torn homes with children and elderly family members in their care. In times of crisis, it is women who are called to hold together the tattered shreds of civilization, to create a home from a dank basement or a trench, to maintain some sense of normalcy in the middle of trauma. Women and girls are especially susceptible to starvation when food is scarce—they often eat less, and last.

    Women are the ones who keep families moving forward despite the devastation of war, which is why CARE, a global leader within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty, is so focused on giving them a voice.

    Ukrainians face a multi-generational challenge to rebuild their lives in the wake of conflict. While working tirelessly to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the conflict, the global community cannot lose sight of the long-term impacts on jobs, education, human rights, and social norms.

    "This conflict is not just testing the mettle and resilience of the Ukrainian people, both of which they have shown in spades over and again,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE President & CEO. “This is a conflict that will test the resilience of the global community as a whole – the countries hosting displaced Ukrainians, to those facing famine, global donors and policy makers, and humanitarian, development, and civil society organizations."

    Your CARE Package gift can help provide the most urgent needs.Photo courtesy of CARE.org

    As the conflict enters its second year with no signs of abating it is imperative that the global community redouble its efforts and renew its will to support conflict-affected communities, both now, and in the future. So far, CARE has reached over 960,000 people across Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Georgia, and Germany, mostly through local partners with protection and psychosocial support, cash assistance, food, water, sanitation & hygiene assistance, health services, support for accommodation, protection against gender-based violence and education.

    Keeping women and girls as the focus, CARE is working to support locally-led women’s organizations in Ukraine through grants, logistical support and expertise to rural grassroots led women’s organizations to help them deliver humanitarian assistance such as accommodation, advocacy around women’s rights and equality, relief items and relocation services.

    They have also begun to work actively to restore homes and provide psychological assistance to civilians who are impacted by the trauma of war. Together with partners, CARE is opening safe spaces for women and girls, which provide the most necessary counseling, training, and qualification for women. However, the number one priority is food, and they need all the help we can muster to funnel in resources to keep these people alive.

    Equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Your $75 donation can give a displaced family fuel for heating and cooking, or support determined and brave women with emergency cash to purchase things like flashlights, food, and blankets or secure shelter.

    For the price of a meal out, you can give Ukrainians dignity, hope, and a future.

    Source: Library of Congress

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for many things—but perhaps his greatest legacy is sparking an unshakable hope that someday, change will come.

    Just two months before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King spoke to a crowd in Washington, D.C. and famously said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Spreading (and keeping!) that hope is exactly what Meta aims to accomplish with their latest VR for Good project, MLK: Now is the Time, a 20-minute documentary VR experience featuring the use of hand gesture-based tracking technology.

    Developed by TIME/TIME Studios and Flight School Studio for Meta Quest, MLK: Now is the Time drops you into a thoroughly modern interpretation of the March on Washington. Viewers hear first-person stories and can interact with key moments in history, showing them what it means to be an activist. Limbert Fabian, the director of the project, felt inspired to develop something fresh and different that would catch the attention of a new generation. As a parent, he knows what mediums are most likely to engage young people.

    “I wanted the audience to walk away feeling that Dr. King's words are relevant today. Perhaps even motivate them to engage in activism at a local level,” said Fabian. “I imagined that one day a high-school social studies class somewhere is going to be diving into that time in our nation's history and our project would be a tool that we can offer them to dive in deeper to look at not the day but the ideas that fueled that gathering, and how the words were meant to push into a future for the country.”

    TIME Studios worked closely with the King estate to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the original moment. Audio from the “I Have A Dream” speech is layered throughout, culminating in an encounter with Dr. King and a call to continued action around his vision of one day living in a nation where people are no longer judged by the color of their skin, but by their character.

    Because the rules for VR technology are still being written, this project is on the cutting edge of merging the past—in the form of archival footage—and the present. There is a sense of intimacy in the VR world; it’s a space where a person can “drop in” and feel as if they are somewhere else, immersed in a world of activism. But even more importantly, the creators want to inspire a sense of hope, just like Dr. King did every time he spoke.

    Some of the key, impactful moments in the film include a simulation of getting pulled over by police, as a person of color. Many people may not regard the police as a threat, but in this VR experience, getting pulled over feels authentic for the user. Their heartbeat may heighten. Their palms may get sweaty. That’s something that will stick with viewers and give them something to think about.

    Another aspect, Fabian says, is the ability for people to use their hands to add to the immersion experience. “It’s seamless,” said Fabian. “The act of raising a fist holds weight in a lot of different ways: empathy, defiance, an act of contribution…it’s a gesture that’s easily recognizable. I don’t have to say anything and you instantly know.” This engagement is what makes the experience so unique.

    “I want people to leave this experience with a renewed spark of hope. What type of hope that is is not for me to decide. However, for so many, King represented a hope for our nation, and I want people to remember that the legacy of hope did not die when he did,” said Andrina Smith, the writer for the project.

    Even though it’s been nearly sixty years since Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, it’s as relevant today as it was when he first uttered those words. Racial inequities and injustices persist; the work is far from over. And this, my friends, is why hope is such an important piece of the puzzle.


    When McCall Mirabella was a freshman in high school, she began vaping nicotine. It seemed like everyone she knew was doing it— she felt like she saw more kids her age using e-cigarettes than drinking alcohol, and rationalized that it couldn’t be that bad for her.

    Eventually, she decided to quit and shared her entire journey with the world, hoping to warn others about the dangers—and realities—of vaping. Mirabella often wished she had access to a program for people her age when she was struggling on her own quit effort. That’s why she is partnered with truth® to spread the word about This is Quitting, a free and anonymous text message quit vaping program that is helping more than 500,000 young people.

    The truth campaign, which helped reduce youth smoking to historic lows, took on the topic of vaping when it was declared an epidemic among young people in 2018. At that time, Truth Initiative, the organization behind truth, saw how many young people wanted to quit and developed This is Quitting in response to that need. A first-of-its-kind quit vaping text program, This is Quitting is now part of truth.

    The most recent truth campaign, Breath of Stress Air connects the dots between vaping and mental health, revealing that while it might seem like vaping helps you tolerate the stress of life (and the holidays!), the reality is that vaping nicotine can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression and may increase stress levels. But the good news? Among young people who quit, 90% of said that they felt less stressed, anxious, or depressed.

    Basically: vaping may not be chilling you out and it may be best to trade stress air for fresh air.

    Like many young people who vape, Mirabella took a hit of nicotine first thing in the morning, before she even got out of bed. Vaping felt like it made her life better—her brain, which was seriously hooked on the nicotine she was inhaling, told her what she was doing improved her mood, alleviated her stress, and curbed her appetite. Why would she ever quit?

    However, 4 years into her nicotine addiction, a friend bet her $3,000 that she would not be able to quit vaping for an entire year. While quitting felt intimidating, she took the bet (planning to donate the money to charity), and opted to document her entire experience via her YouTube channel.

    “When I uploaded my quitting nicotine documentary on my YouTube, I hoped that by telling my story, I’d have the opportunity to also help others. That’s why I was so happy to learn about This is Quitting and have the opportunity to partner with truth to help others quit too,” said Mirabella.

    Quit with McCall Challengewww.youtube.com

    Mirabella continues to pay it forward. In an effort this past November to help others quit she joined truth for a ‘Quit With McCall Challenge,’ which helped nearly 2,500 young people join This is Quitting. Additionally, nearly 800 of those who enrolled in the challenge joined Mirabella’s Discord channel, leaning on each other for additional support. One user commented, “Yes I was looking for someone to talk to about quitting and I [saw] McCall’s new YouTube video and she blessed me with this [gift, because] I felt veryyyy alone and not so much anymore.”

    Overcoming addiction of any kind is an enormous undertaking, which is why support from friends and peers is so crucial. With that in mind, This is Quitting incorporates text messages from other quitters on their journey. truthalso uplifts the voices of real young people through its ongoing “Quitters” series. One such story comes from Jordon, a young person who committed to escaping his nicotine addiction. Using This is Quitting, he has successfully been able to commit to a healthy, vape-free lifestyle.

    How a 15 Year Smoker Turned Vaper Quit to Help Support His Family | Quitters Episode 3youtu.be

    Mirabella knows better than anyone how important peer-to-peer relationships are when it feels like you’re at war with your body.

    “I am so inspired by everyone who is participating and the community we’ve built. A lot of Gen-Z wants to quit once they know the risks, they just don’t know how. That’s why I stand behind truth and their amazing work to provide free 24/7 guidance,” said Mirabella. “I hope other aspiring quitters know there is a big supportive community out there that wants to see you succeed in quitting.”

    By enrolling today, you’re joining a half-a-million other young people who are taking control of their future and rejecting vaping. Even if you’re just thinking about quitting, but aren’t sure you’re ready, you can still text the number anytime. Support is truly 24/7—you can text DITCHVAPE to 88709 to receive it instantly. What better way to begin a new year?