Hunger is not just a reserve of the homeless, uneducated and the lowest in the society, but is also a problem faced by normal people with college degrees and shelter. While the American economy boast of overcoming the Great Recession, scores of families in Tampa Bay area and its surroundings continues to suffer starvation with the numbers rising every day. Surprisingly, a large percentage of individuals from these families either have some form of high school diploma or a college degree. Even more, white people seem to be more affected compared to other minority groups. The Hunger in America study conducted a survey in Tampa Bay and its surroundings and revealed that the majority of the area’s 840, 000 people faced with the hunger problem are neither uneducated nor homeless.
The Tampa Bay area and most of its surroundings are known for a vast number of big homes found in gated neighborhoods. However, this region also represents the area with the largest meal gap per year. In hindsight, about 1.3 people in Tampa Bay suffer the highest number of meals missed per year (Arriola, 2015). Children also make a significant percentage of this number. In Pinellas County, it is estimated that out every four children, one child is likely to suffer to starvation with 250, 000 children estimated to be suffering from the problem every year.
According to a study by Feeding America, there exists a unique scenario regarding the people affected by the hunger problem in Tampa Bay (Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger 2015). The study, which was conducted to give an in-depth look into America’s starving population considered ten counties in Tampa Bay and its surrounding areas such as Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee as well as Hernando counties. The study revealed that around 44 percent of the individuals suffering from hunger in the region are white. On the other side, 40 percent of African Americans suffered hunger while just about 13 percent of Latino people suffered the same. The fact that minority groups are less prone to this problem compared to the whites who represent the majority and obviously more privileged reflects the sense that hunger in this region is a serious issue (Mabli, Cohen, Potter & Zhao,2010). This statistic compounded by the revelation that 90 percent or even more of the highlighted individuals either own their own homes or can afford rent continues to reiterate the need to handle the hunger problem in this region as a serious problem that requires a unique approach.
It is important to highlight that the above revelation demystifies the misconception that individuals who are vulnerable to hunger are often homeless or uneducated. To an extent, it highlights some form of prejudice that needs to be fought. Nonetheless, the breakdown points to food insecurity as the main factor behind this issue. Most of Tampa Bay region’s residents lack the reliable access to enough quantity of affordable as well as nutritious food (Long, 2010). This means that they have to rely on donations from charities and the government for enough food. Some of the region’s residents are also unemployed despite having high school diplomas and college degrees. This equally makes affording good food a problem thus increasing the hunger issue. While some are employed, most have low paying jobs that cannot meet all their needs. Food prices in this regard become hurting also increasing hunger in the region.
In conclusion, while Tampa Bay and its surroundings increasingly suffer hunger and starvation, the main issue is not food affordability but ensuring employment for the residents. The residents of this region while being qualified for job opportunities, are either mostly jobless or have low paying jobs that cannot ensure food security. Ensuring employment for the region’s residents can help reduce the number of food insecure person. As such, it affirms that this is the best approach towards solving this problem. Thus, it justifies suggesting that the hunger problem in Tampa Bay should be approached from a different angle rather than the provision of food donations by charitable groups.
- Arriola, N. B. (2015). Food Insecurity and Hunger Experiences and their Impact on Food Pantry Clients in the Tampa Bay.
- Long, M. H. (2010). Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa, Fla., http://tampabayhistorycenter.org. Journal of American History, 97(1), 131-135. doi:10.2307/jahist/97.1.131
- Mabli, J., Cohen, R., Potter, F., & Zhao, Z. (2010). Hunger in America 2010 National report prepared for feeding America (No. b2c52ed1a1ca45d0952012dc19a6a2fe). Mathematica Policy Research.
- Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger. (2015). doi:10.17226/11227