Sunday, April 25, 2021

Bill Crawford: Phenomenal Network Combats Actual Hunger in Mississippi

“Who is actually hungry and starved to death in Mississippi?” That was part of a gnarly response to my column about the shame of Mississippi having the “hungriest county in the U.S.”

Hmmm.

So, the measure of hunger we should be concerned about is death by starvation?

Somewhere in Mississippi children and seniors citizen are hungry. The statistics are overwhelming. Over 160,000 children, about one in four, struggle with hunger, the highest percentage in America. More than half of Mississippi seniors experience regular food shortfalls and almost half of those who are eligible for food stamps (SNAP) do not enroll.

A poor child gets sick and stays home from school so misses his or her free breakfast andr lunch. Oh, but there is food at home. Maybe not. The mother has to go to work and leaves the child with her mother. The poor grandmother, who is having to skip meals herself, isn’t expecting to keep the child so no food is available. Oh, but that’s only for a day or two. No one will starve.

The grandmother has no vehicle and no money. Her food stamps ran out. She’s too far out for one of the food pantries or meals on wheels deliveries. She can only get food when her daughter brings it to her or takes her to the store. She’s hungry but will not starve.

Prior to the pandemic, such stories took place in county after county across the state. During the pandemic, things worsened.

Mississippi’s network of organizations feeding the hungry is truly phenomenal. Hundreds of churches, charities, and social service organizations do heroic work to feed hundreds of thousands of children, senior citizens, the homeless, and others in need every month. They depend on over 40 food banks to supply them food.

For example, the Mississippi Food Network in central Mississippi supplies 430 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior citizen programs, afterschool programs and other service organizations in 56 counties which feed approximately 150,000 people monthly. The Mid-South Food Bank supply similar organizations in 18 north Mississippi counties. Feeding the Gulf Coast supplies 8 south Mississippi counties. Extra Table supplies 27 counties across the state. There are more.

That’s on top of public schools that provide free meals to over 300,000 children, about 69% of all students. That’s on top of the SNAP program that provides food vouchers to over 440,000 recipients and the multiple Meals on Wheels programs that feed over 13,000 seniors.

Despite this extraordinary effort, Mississippians still go hungry. But because of it, no-one starves to death.

Yet, some who don’t starve still die from hunger issues – people who have the means to obtain food (SNAP or otherwise) but live in a “food desert,” places with little or no access to affordable fresh food, e.g. grocery stores. So they live off of accessible junk and fast foods. The University Medical Center says this contributes to our woeful obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension mortalities.

Yes, people are actually hungry. No, starvation is not the measure. But for the many who work so tirelessly to feed the hungry, it might be.

“A generous person will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor” – Proverbs 22:9.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.

 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

“ She’s hungry but will not starve. Prior to the pandemic, such stories took place in county after county across the state. During the pandemic, things worsened.”
—————————————

Nonsense. Notice how many people on food stamps are grossly overweight? You want to see people starving then go look at photos of people in Africa. This country goes out of their way to feed, clothe, provide medical service and educate the poor and hungry.

Anonymous said...

So what is Bennie Thompson doing to fight hunger in his district?

Anonymous said...

12:00; Bennie hosts fish fries for his people. He's been doing it for years.

Anonymous said...

"A poor child gets sick and stays home from school so misses his or her free breakfast andr (sic) lunch."

It's not free you moron. I paid for it, and I'm tired of supporting a bunch of folks without so much as a please or thank you. I can give to food banks without having my money robbed by the government to feed other people's kids attending schools for which I also paid.

And in your example, did the poor mom and kid not plant a spinach patch like Opie Taylor did? Or did they just sit there with a hand out?

How about our handouts only be garden tools, seed and fertilizer, limited only by how much they can actually utilize?

Anonymous said...

wake up already.

obesity ...yes, in children, is a FAR greater problem than childhood hunger in MS.

open your eyes, walk around, drive through the Delta.

please tug on another heartstring aside from the old and worn out " childhood hunger" one as if this is Ethiopia. It's ridiculous and you lose all credibility for pushing the narrative like that.

Anonymous said...

If this problem is so bad why does Mississippi lead the nation in obesity? Are the kids breathing in high-calorie air? Drinking the high-fat water out of the tap?


======================================================================
"How about our handouts only be garden tools, seed and fertilizer, limited only by how much they can actually utilize?"

That actually may be a great idea.

Anonymous said...

The hunger and "food deserts) arguments are pure poppycock, at least for 99.9% of Mississippians.

Swear to GOD on a Sunday afternoon said...

"Yet, some who don’t starve still die from hunger issues – people who have the means to obtain food (SNAP or otherwise) but live in a “food desert,” places with little or no access to affordable fresh food, e.g. grocery stores. So they live off of accessible junk and fast foods. The University Medical Center says this contributes to our woeful obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension mortalities."

Somewhere, in the Mississippi PBS video archives, from about 20 years ago, there exists a program they aired dealing with obesity and diabetes in Mississippi. I watched it one night from my couch that I fell off of.....

....and as the story went, UMMC decided, through their statistics, to find the "typical Mississippi family" for their program. It was a single mother, overweight, with her morbidly obese young daughter that lived in a small home in the MS Delta. So they go see the rural clinic and Doctor. The Doctor questions them on their diet. "What is your typical meal?" The mother claims they eat burgers, pork chops, McDonalds.... the Doctor then tells her that since they are both overweight and diabetic they need to "quit eating so much red meat" and come see me in 30 days.

30 days go by. They meet once again at the clinic with the Doctor. The Doctor asks them "Did you change your diet to include other things other than red meat? What have you been eating since we last met?" The lady says we eat burgers, pork chops, ribs, McDonalds.....that's when the Doctor says "I thought I told you that you needed to cut back on the red meat?"....and here is where I fell off my couch.....the lady says "It's not RED if you cook it long enough."

So the root of the problem isn't dietary, it's intelligence or the lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

From what I see every week at the local supermarket, no one is remotely close to being hungry ... much less starvation.

Silicon ass implants have nothing on the natural big butts down here.

Three meals per day of cheetos, pork rinds and faygo does put on poundage.

No one is starving.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like an article on poverty to bring out the worst from the lower income white folks in this country. Everybody has to have somebody to look down on I suppose.

Anonymous said...

6:17 - that’s who reads this stupid blog. I doubt that Bill Carmichael does.

Wow said...

Imagine if we had some really amazing pro-active public policy to help with food deserts that incentivized the private sector to work on solutions to access to healthy food--curbing obesity and subsequent healthcare costs.

Similarly to what we did to incentivize developers to create dressed up strip malls and outlet stores, what if we did the same for groceries in the delta.

It could be a coalition of gas station / convenience store owners, grocers / food suppliers, and property developers.

This is on the high-end but Denver's Choice gas stations are mini grocery stores: Choice Markets.

Talk about a transformative change--- but it has a long ROI--we wouldn't really see meaningful impact until the next generation. That's why we probably will not do it.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:30am

"Imagine if we had some really amazing pro-active public policy to help with food deserts that incentivized the private sector to work on solutions to access to healthy food--curbing obesity and subsequent healthcare costs.

Similarly to what we did to incentivize developers to create dressed up strip malls and outlet stores, what if we did the same for groceries in the delta.

It could be a coalition of gas station / convenience store owners, grocers / food suppliers, and property developers.

This is on the high-end but Denver's Choice gas stations are mini grocery stores: Choice Markets.

Talk about a transformative change--- but it has a long ROI--we wouldn't really see meaningful impact until the next generation. That's why we probably will not do it."


Good point on the pro-active public policy, but the jokers in the #msleg capitalize off of poverty and suffering. They are good with the conditions in this state.

Anonymous said...

Who sits at a news desk and makes up this crap?

'Half of America's third graders go to bed hungry, wake up hungry and head to school hungry'. Bullshit. Prove it.

'Half the seniors eligible for food stamps don't enroll'. Bullshit. Prove it. Misuse of magical stats derived from a geeky formula based on guesswork.

Dolly Parton's 'Hard Candy Christmas' and 'Rock Soup' are myths.

And in closing: Two most popular signs on the doors of convenience stores today:

1) We accept EBT - Eligible items list has been expanded.

2) We will no longer accept money retrieved from your underwear.

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