Western world

Food kitchen

The need for Anti-Hunger Organisations in the Western World

To a greater or lesser degree there has always been hunger problems affecting the populations of the developed countries in the western world. Prior to the social welfare system being introduced to provide for the poorest in society, many people died from starvation due to numerous famines and also to food shortages during periods of war. However since advancements in agriculture and food transportation in the 19th century and since peace on the home front has been the norm after the second world war, hunger has become a less obvious problem. Nevertheless, hunger has always been a persistent, sometimes hidden crisis for particular groups within western societies.

More recently, lasting global inflation in the price of food which began around 2006 has severely affected economic conditions in the western world. This was exacerbated in 2008 by a worldwide financial crisis which has meant that once again the problem of hunger has begun to affect more and more people in the western world.

A growing need in the UK

In the UK, low- earning families suffering under enforced austerity cuts to their working hours and rates of pay were amongst the first to experience hunger as a result of the financial crisis and were forced to turn to food banks in order to feed their families. According to food charities, there were 13 million, around 20% of the UK population, living below the poverty line in 2012. In December of the same year approximately 200,000 UK citizens required help in the form of provisions from food banks, twice the number from the previous year. Despite these damning statistics UK conservative MPs have frequently denied the need for food banks or any other type of food aid programmes in the UK.

One in four US children require food aid

In the United States, a country which produces much more food than is required for domestic consumption, statistics from the Department of Agriculture indicate that 14.9% of American households were food insecure and required emergency food aid in the year 2011. By 2012 nearly 17% of the US population was food insecure and the proportion of children affected was even higher at 25%. Furthermore, since 2012 the US government has spent $80 billion per year on programmes administered mainly by the Food and Nutrition Service which delivers food aid to one in four Americans.

A continuing crisis

It is evident that indeed anti-hunger organisations are needed in the western world as poverty and consequently hunger is a continuing crisis for many people in our societies. This includes not only those classified in the lowest socio-economic groups but also those people within the middle-classes who are struggling with continued financial problems caused mainly by lasting global inflation in the price of food since 2006 and the financial crisis of 2008.