After suffering through years of an economic downturn driven by a mortgage crisis, rising consumer debts, and mounting medical expenses, of late many average Americans are increasingly hungry for the country to rebound financially. Unfortunately, at the same time, a confluence of events is prompting a resurgence of literal hunger in the U.S. as well as many other corners of the world-at-large.
According to a recent report from The World Bank, global food prices are on the rise. Between October 2010 and January 2011, the Bank's food price index rose by 15 percent, as global prices of wheat, maize, sugar and edible oils increased sharply. As a result of these increases in food prices, since Summer 2010 at-risk populations worldwide have taken a financial hit, with "a net increase in extreme poverty of about 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries."
As rising food prices intensify poverty and hunger abroad, America is following this unfortunate global trend according to Gallup Polls conducted between 2006 and 2008. The polls revealed that 16 percent of people in the Americas have gone without food due to finances. And the trend of rising food costs is likely to force more even families into hunger in at least the coming months.
According to report from The Huffington Post, the U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price index survey shows that “the price of grains such as corn, wheat and soybeans has roughly doubled since last summer, due mainly to bad harvests and also the use of corn for ethanol. Wholesale food prices rose by 3.9 percent in February -- the sharpest increase in more than 36 years. Meat and dairy prices also rose, as did fresh vegetable prices, leaping by nearly 50 percent in February. And the Department predicted that ‘food costs are likely to keep climbing for most of this year.’”
Rising costs for household basics like meat, dairy and grains, are forcing many Americans to flock to food banks for basic sustenance. A recent feature from CNN revealed local communities, like one in Lee County, Alabama, are reliant on “Community Market programs,” where people trade food stamps for basic foodstuffs. "Hunger is like a persistent social fever in our country," Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center told CNN. "It is like a malignant social ill that leaves the country weaker, and more susceptible to other problems like poorer educational performance and health problems."
The problem is also wreaking havoc on the psyches of an ailing American middle class.
As HuffPost found, “one in four Americans is ‘worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year,’ reports the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Their information comes from a national hunger survey conducted last month by Hart Research Associates, commissioned by FRAC and Tyson Foods, Inc. The survey found that 24 percent of respondents ‘indicated they are very or fairly concerned about being able to afford food at some point in the next year, while 31 percent are slightly worried.’”
If cutting back on eating out and consuming off-brand concoctions isn’t enough to shore up your family’s food expenses, it may be time to consider other options for freeing up funds for basic needs, including bankruptcy.
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