Food for Thought

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Food for Thought

As of 2005, hunger continues to be a worldwide problem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "850 million people worldwide were undernourished in 1999 to 2005, the most recent years for which figures are available" and the number of hungry people has recently been increasing. The official poverty rate in the U.S. has increased for four consecutive years, from a 26-year low of 11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004. This means that 37.0 million people were below the official poverty thresholds in 2004. This is 5.4 million more than in 2000. The poverty rate for children under 18 increased from 16.2% to 17.8% over that period.
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“We are calling upon religious organizations, business and civic groups such as Scouts and service clubs especially, because this is where we have the best skilled volunteers.”
Duffield said many at the table were homeless people who normally eat at shelters in the downtown area, but there were also people fed who are not homeless. “It’s just awesome to see all of these organizations united in a focused effort,” he said.
“Every American deserves a place at the table,” said Carol Trahan, a volunteer with Second Harvest. She pointed out that about 14 percent of the population in Northeast Tennessee lives at or below the poverty line. About a quarter of that population often has to choose between buying food or paying rent, more than a third had unexpected expenses and little or no money left for food. That means almost half has skipped a meal or gone to bed hungry, and more than half worries about running out of food before their next paycheck or food stamp allotment.
Individuals, organizations and businesses can help by donating food, donating money, volunteering help or becoming an agency identifying an unserved area of the community.
* Of the 475,000 people living in Tennessee’s eight northeastern most counties, U.S. Census figures show 14 percent, or about 68,000 people, live in poverty. The figures equate to more than one in five Northeast Tennessee children with

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