Children go to bed hungry here at home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2011

In part because of a concerted media push in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, some powerful images remain burned into the collective consciences of so many Americans.

Children with bloated stomachs, stick-like arms and legs, protruding rib cages and an overall emaciated look that is enough to bring tears to your eyes.

The country of Ethiopia became the poster child for hunger in these decades.

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And although the attention may have shifted elsewhere, the problem remains in that country and many others around the world.

But anyone who believes that this isn’t a problem right here in our own communities is greatly mistaken. Our local food pantries and charitable organizations that address hunger fight nearly never-ending battles.

A recent study released by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks has revealed that one in four Ohio child lives at risk of hunger.

Statistics compiled show that 26.5 percent of the children under the age of 18 are struggling to simply get the nourishment they need to thrive and survive. This equates to 731,040 children who may go to bed hungry.

The study titled, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011,” showed that this is a problem that impacts every region of the United States, with statistics showing that one in six Americans overall face hunger issues.

Here in Lawrence County nearly 30 percent of children must deal with this.

Studies like this are important because they shine a light on a problem that many people perceive to not be this close to home.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It is also important to realize this problem isn’t about statistics. It isn’t about numbers.

Hunger is about children.

It is about real people who are unable to get the most basic sustenance required.

Identifying the problem through studies like this is the first step.

Now, each of us as compassionate human beings, must find a way to make a difference.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at