Let's End Hunger for the Holidays

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InFocus Newsletter no. 003

Let's End Hunger for the Holidays


The holiday season has begun. The holiday spirit, however, still has some warming up to do.

At a recent gathering, I was introduced to several high-profile people in a local community. When I told them about Focus Relief Photography for Charity, they seemed very interested in what we are doing. However, when it came up that we support programs working to alleviate hunger in America, their first comments were, "Wait. There's a hunger problem in America? Seriously?"

My reply to them: Yes. Seriously. The USDA classifies more than 40 million Americans as “food insecure," a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. At Focus Relief, we're trying to do something about that. We're proud to support community programs whose primary focus is addressing the issues surrounding hunger across the country.

In this issue of the InFocus newsletter, we showcase a recent article on how hunger remains an American issue. We also spotlight an organization that not just provides meals but assistance to thousands of individuals each week. In addition, we share stories in the fight against hunger and, as always, our photo of the week.

Happy Holidays!

Tarik Trad
Founder and President,
Focus Relief Photography for Charity
 


The New Face of Hunger


By Tracie McMillan, National Geographic Magazine
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash
Article Undated

On a gold-gray morning in Mitchell County, Iowa, Christina Dreier sends her son, Keagan, to school without breakfast. He is three years old, barrel-chested, and stubborn, and usually refuses to eat the free meal he qualifies for at preschool. Faced with a dwindling pantry, Dreier has decided to try some tough love: If she sends Keagan to school hungry, maybe he’ll eat the free breakfast, which will leave more food at home for lunch.

Dreier knows her gambit might backfire, and it does. Keagan ignores the school breakfast on offer and is so hungry by lunchtime that Dreier picks through the dregs of her freezer in hopes of filling him and his little sister up. She shakes the last seven chicken nuggets onto a battered baking sheet, adds the remnants of a bag of Tater Tots and a couple of hot dogs from the fridge, and slides it all into the oven. She’s gone through most of the food she got last week from a local food pantry; her own lunch will be the bits of potato left on the kids’ plates. “I eat lunch if there’s enough,” she says. “But the kids are the most important. They have to eat first.”

The fear of being unable to feed her children hangs over Dreier’s days. She and her husband, Jim, pit one bill against the next—the phone against the rent against the heat against the gas—trying always to set aside money to make up for what they can’t get from the food pantry or with their food stamps, issued by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Congressional cuts to SNAP last fall of five billion dollars pared her benefits from $205 to $172 a month.

On this particular afternoon Dreier is worried about the family van, which is on the brink of repossession. She and Jim need to open a new bank account so they can make automatic payments instead of scrambling to pay in cash. But that will happen only if Jim finishes work early. It’s peak harvest time, and he often works until eight at night, applying pesticides on commercial farms for $14 an hour. Running the errand would mean forgoing overtime pay that could go for groceries.

It’s the same every month, Dreier says. Bills go unpaid because, when push comes to shove, food wins out. “We have to eat, you know,” she says, only the slightest hint of resignation in her voice. “We can’t starve.”

Continue Reading

Spotlight Organization:
Houston Food Bank


The Houston Food Bank is a solution to both hunger and food waste. America’s largest and nationally recognized as Feeding America’s Food Bank of the Year in 2015, the Food Bank distributes 122 million nutritious meals through its community partners in southeast Texas, feeding 800,000 individuals each year. 

The Houston Food Bank is a 308,000 square foot facility that consists of a warehouse, kitchen and conference center. Through a network of 1,500 community partners and partner distribution organizations, they are able to service 18 counties in the Southeast Texas area.

In 2015, the Houston Food Bank was presented with the highest honor given to one food bank among the 200 Feeding America members across the U.S.

To learn more about the Houston Food Bank, go to www.houstonfoodbank.org

Watch Video

Stories in the Fight Against Hunger


Women's Giving Circle of Missoula awards $10K to Food Bank in first-ever gift

Missoula Current - “This meaningful funding will support a program that lifts the voices of women who are the real experts on food insecurity, because they've lived it,” ...

Read More

 


Claremont Public Schools Make Space for Food Pantries

Valley News - In 2017, 7.7 percent of U.S. households with children faced food insecurity, defined as having difficulty at some time during the year providing enough ...

Read More
 

Denver Food Rescue plans to make its produce part of a program fighting childhood obesity and diabetes at a Denver Health clinic
Denverite - “Food is medicine,” says Denver Food Rescue Program Director Christine Alford.

Read More

Our Photo of the Week


Frozen Lake, Virginia

On a frigid morning in northern Virginia when the sun was just about to rise, the starkness of winter appeared. Photo by Tarik Trad.

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Holiday Sale - Everything 25% Off


We're providing a discount code exclusively for loyal subscribers like you. Enter the following code at checkout. Code expires 12/31/18.

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As a reminder, when you invest in our limited-edition, gallery-quality photos, 100 percent of our profits go toward community programs working to alleviate hunger in America.

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