As Congress resumes the important work of balancing our budget and cutting expenditures, it will face some difficult decisions. I sincerely hope that our members of Congress will take time to educate themselves about the services they are considering so that any cuts are made in a way that strengthens our community and protects the essential services that help struggling families.
The Lowcountry Food Bank would like to invite all of our South Carolina congressional leaders to visit their local food bank before entering into budget conversations. Hunger is a very real problem that affects our community, and some of the programs that help put food on the tables of Americans who are facing difficult situations are at risk of being decimated.
According to a 2011 report from the Food Research Action Center, South Carolina ranks fifth in the nation in “food hardship.” The food-insecurity rate in South Carolina (18.8 percent) is dramatically higher than the national average (14.7 percent) and more than a quarter (27.1 percent) of the children in our state risk hunger on a daily basis. Though sacrifices need to be made in the name of fiscal balance, the Lowcountry Food Banks believes this should not be done on the backs of struggling families.
There is no better way to understand the issue of hunger in our community than to see food banks in action. I strongly encourage the S.C. members of Congress to witness firsthand the positive impact hunger-relief and nutrition programs have on our community.
The writer lives in Charleston.