Feeding America is a United States organization that consists of nationwide network of more than two hundred food banks and food rescue organization that serves the United States as well as Puerto Rico. It is the nation leading hunger relief charity. In the late 1060s, John van Hengel, a retired businessman in Phoenix, began volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and began soliciting food donations for the kitchen. He ended up with far more food than the kitchen could use and when he talked to his client around that time, she told him she regularly feeds her family with food discarded from the grocery store’s garbage bins. He then got an idea where there could be a place where discarded food items could be stored so that people who need it could be able to access it. Van Hengel began to actively solicit this unwanted food from the grocery stores, local gardens, and nearby produce farms. His effort led to the creation of St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, the nation’s first food bank. In 1975, St. Mary’s was given a federal grant to assist in developing food banks across the nation. This effort was formally incorporated into a separate non-profit organization. In September 2008, the organization name was changed to feeding America which conveyed the mission of the organization which was to provide food for Americans living in hunger. Hunger is more than the production of food and meeting demands of people. The problem is that hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough food to nourish them. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier. This often continues until death for them and their families. Poverty is therefore directly related to hunger. Food production in most cases is usually very high but the distribution of food is very low causing a lot of food to go to waste because the food simply could not get to some people because they could not afford it. “If all the food that goes to waste could be donated to the all the needy, we would not have hunger” (Rosset). Data from the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, show that there were 797,255 people were in poverty in Louisiana; 18.1 percent of the state’s population. For Lincoln parish in 2002, 21.5 percent of people were in poverty. In the case of Lincoln Parish and especially in Ruston, subtracting out the college-age population and recalculating the poverty rate for just the non-college aged population reduces the poverty rate. The published rate is just over 32 percent; removing the student-aged population and recalculating drops the rate to just over 22 percent in the City of Ruston. The rate for Lincoln Parish drops from a published rate of 26.5 percent to 20.2 percent. While the large number of students in Lincoln Parish appears to have an effect on the area's above-average poverty rate, it is not the sole explanation. The state's poverty rate is lower, and the nation as a whole has a poverty rate that is about half as large even after excluding the college aged population. Other factors such as migration of people from the state to other states, unemployment or low wages must also be playing a role in order for the city and parish to experience such high levels of poverty. Poverty could also be as a cause of the distribution of resources in the Parish. The Lincoln parish economy has two main types of industry: educational services (largely classified as state government employment because they are public institutions), and resource-related manufacturing and distribution activities. The educational institutions help to explain the pool of educated residents in the parish. The resource-related industries account for the weak attributes of the economy. These industries are cyclical and are currently at a low point of the cycle. Employers, in these industries, are, in many...
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