“When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying ‘Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine.’” Revelation 6:5-6
Hunger in the U.S. and around the world is caused by various complex social and economic factors of which much ink has been spilled. We realize that one web page can hardly do justice to all the facts and thoughts on this matter.
Our main goal with this page is to provide a brief overview of hunger facts in an attempt to educate the public about the realities of hunger.
We know that the world can produce enough food to feed every person on earth. So why is there still hunger and what can we do about it? The root causes of hunger are due to the systems, policies, and institutions that benefit multinational corporations and wealthy nations while leaving millions of people without access to food, land, water and sustainable livelihoods.
Our global food system is structured to value profits over people and the planet.
In other words, hunger is caused by POVERTY and INJUSTICE.
Hunger in United States of America prior to the virus crisis
Here are some facts, mostly pulled our from Census Bureau:
- In 2018, 37.2 million people lived in food-insecure households, meaning they are often forced to skip meals, eat less at meals, buy cheap non-nutritious food and/or feed their children but not themselves.
- 1 in 6 children in the U.S. is food insecure.
- There are 14.3 million U.S. households suffering from food insecurity.
- In 2018, 5.6 million U.S. households experienced severe food insecurity.
- Nearly 1 in 7 households with children cannot afford to buy enough food for their families.
- On average, 40.4 million Americans rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) each month to meet their food needs. An additional 6.9 million women and children are assisted by the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program.
- Among SNAP households with children, more than half of adults work while receiving SNAP, and almost 90 percent are employed the prior or subsequent year. SNAP helps Americans return to work, and increasingly, it helps those who already work, but do not receive a sufficient wage to feed themselves or their families.
- 1 in 4 people who are food insecure is unlikely to qualify for most federal nutrition programs.
- Many families suffering from hunger and poverty live in areas where fresh, unprocessed, healthy food is not available or is expensive, while the food they do have access to is nutritionally deficient.
- There are 38.1 million people living in poverty in the US, including 12.8 million children. That’s 1 in 6 American children.
- 2019 federal guidelines set the poverty rate at $25,750 for a family of four, but depending on a family’s specific city and state of residence, the actual minimum amount required to raise a family could be two or three times that.
- The vast majority of people who grow, pick and process our food live in poverty and cannot afford to buy adequate healthy food. 86% of jobs in the food system offer very low wages at the poverty level and below the poverty level.
- Worldwide, 736 million people, or 10% of the world’s population, live on the equivalent of less than $1.90 per day.
These numbers date 2018-2019. Now, add to these numbers the current world pandemic with all the restrictions and unemployment and you will have a better picture of what is to come. But in order to fully understand how bad it is please keep reading.
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The struggles that farmers face today will affect us all
Last year, after four decades of farming, Nebraska grain farmer Kirk Duensing filed for bankruptcy. Several years of low corn and soybean prices left him with too many bills he could not pay. He sold farmland and farm equipment to raise emergency funds, but it was not enough. To escape his debt of more than $1 million, he filed for bankruptcy. Now he struggles to survive by borrowing more money and hiring himself out to plant crops for other farmers.
Nationwide, most farms lost money last year. Government statistics show 223 Midwest farmers filed for bankruptcy in 2018, twice as many as did during the Great Recession of 2008. These bankruptcies are primarily the result of slumping grain prices caused by rising competition from nations like Brazil and Russia. But the woes faced by farmers have been compounded by China’s tariffs on soybeans, Mexico’s tariffs on cheese, and catastrophic flooding.
At a time when America’s farmers are being buffeted by foreign competition, wide swaths of nine major grain-producing states have been deluged with water. The result? The average annual farm income is half what it was five years ago. This means the farming industry’s debt-to-income ratio is higher now than it has been in a generation.
Farmers are facing their worst financial crisis since the 1980s, and it is still getting worse. Bumper crops of Brazilian soybeans and Russian wheat are expected to keep grain prices low, while flooded fields make it impossible for American farmers to plant those crops. More than half of America’s grain fields went unplanted this year.
Millennia ago, the Bible foretold that in the end time, American crop failures would escalate into famine. The recent COVID-19 outbreak events evoke these prophecies, and they factor into and accelerate the prophesied arrival of the worst agricultural crisis in United States history.
California farmers have been cursed with drought, while Midwest farmers have been cursed with floods. These disasters have cost U.S. farmers billions of dollars. Some are calling the Midwest floods the worst agricultural disaster in modern U.S. history. Satellite images show that over a million acres of farmland were submerged this spring.
Thousands of farms were ruined as flooding washed away huge tracts of corn, soybeans and other crops. Calves, chickens, hogs and other livestock were also wiped out by rising water.
Nebraskan farmer Richard Panowicz lost 40 of his 60 recently born calves. After the disaster struck, he told the Omaha World-Herald that he will probably get out of the cattle business.
Agricultural analysts predict that 5 to 15 million acres of farmland are too wet to plant this year. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that every 5 million acres of unplanted fields subtract 25,000 tons of grain from the nation’s production. So America could have its worst grain harvest in 40 years.
“There’s just devastation everywhere,” said Colleen Rambo, who worked out of Fremont, Nebraska, with a disaster-response team called No Town Left Behind. “The water is covering entire towns to the rooftops …. The croplands have been covered with sand. I felt like I was on the Florida beaches. … One of the farmers was telling me that this happened back in the ’50s, and they turned over the land five feet in order to bury the sand, and they can’t do that again because they’ll just bring that sand back up. So there are millions of acres that are not going to be planted this year. The amount of food that is going to be produced by the Midwest is going to be drastically reduced this year.”
Great tracts of U.S. farmland are not growing crops this year, and the sand washed into the soil may hurt crop yields for years to come. The Midwest has already lost half of its topsoil over the past 50 years due to poor farming practices; the last year floods washed away even more. This loss of precious topsoil will make farmers even more dependent on artificial fertilizer to grow crops—a fertilizer that America purchases from foreign companies in Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine.
One great problem this globe now faces is that most of its arable land is already under production, and much of that land is seriously degraded due to the intensive, chemically-based farming practices fashionable since World War II. Figure in the increasing occurrences of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought and other unnatural disasters and it is clear that the world’s systems of agriculture stand on the brink of disaster.
With food as our largest export product, the United States stands to lose the most in any trade war if any ‘natural’ or unnatural disasters should cause us to have a bad year. National reserves for our own needs, in case of just such an emergency, are very small and would barely last long enough to get us through to the next growing season.
Most people take for granted that grocery stores will always be full of food. But when foreign nations stop trading with America and weather disasters decimate crops, the nation’s food supply will be in peril.
President Donald Trump has promised to be the greatest job-producing president in U.S. history. He is attempting to fight back against unfair trade practices that other nations have used against America. He supports tariffs (taxes on foreign imports) to make American manufacturing great again. He has imposed a 25 percent tariff on many manufactured goods from China and Mexico and is considering tariffs against Japan and the EU.
Such measures help American manufacturers, but hurt American farmers.
In retaliation against America’s new trade policies, China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, Mexico imposed a 25 percent tariff on U.S. cheese, and the EU has proposed a number of tariffs on U.S. farm products. So while American farmers are already struggling because of low crop prices, people worldwide cannot afford U.S. farm produce because their governments tax American goods.
This escalating trade dispute is rerouting the flows of global trade.
Since President Trump took office, U.S. soybean exports to China have fallen more than 60 percent—from 43.3 million tons in 2016 to 16 million in 2018. Meanwhile, Brazilian soybean exports to China have risen 73 percent—from 38 million tons to 66 million tons. Even if a temporary truce is declared in the U.S.-China trade war, American farmers may never reclaim the share of soybean trade they have lost to Chinese companies beginning to rely on Brazilian farmers instead.
American dairy farmers face similar problems. Roughly a quarter of U.S. dairy exports are sold in Mexico, but Mexico’s tariffs on U.S. cheese will drastically reduce these exports. These tariffs are prompting Mexico to reach out to the EU for a trade deal that will make it more affordable to buy dairy products from European farmers. If China buys soybeans from Brazil and Mexico buys milk from Europe, more U.S. farmers will go out of business.
America is still the world’s largest food exporter, but a time is coming when it will no longer export food and will not be able to feed her own people.
The United States and Britain are going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Asia, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce. These nations of Israel are going to be literally besieged—economically frozen out of world trade! As that happens, domestic rioting and violence will become much more prevalent. Already in America today, instances of rioting and burning are occurring more regularly, often associated with racial hatred. … As the economy grows worse, besieged by foreign powers, the rioters will burn more and more—because God’s wrath is upon us!
Ezekiel prophesied that pestilence and famine would destroy one third of the population of end-time Israel.
It is important to note that Ezekiel wrote these words while he was a captive in Babylon after the nations of Israel and Judah had already been conquered. His prophecy is not referring to the Assyrian siege against Samaria or the Babylonian siege against Jerusalem. He is referring to pestilence and famine among the modern descendants of Israel and Judah.
Today, U.S. farmers are losing a trade war with China, Europe, Russia, and Latin America. Once the U.S. no longer produces excess food, the Bible shows that rioting and weather disasters will jeopardize the food supplies it needs to feed even its own people!
We can already see it happening.
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Amid the economic crisis, food banks are struggling to keep all the newly hungry fed
With unemployment soaring, the COVID-19 outbreak is taking a staggering toll on workers. Food banks are ramping up their services to meet the rising demand.
Matthew, who preferred we not use his last name, was in a long cue leading to the parking lot of the Mesa Convention Center, waiting for a week’s supply of food.
“So, I’m in this line waiting. There are over 2,000 people in this line at the United Food Bank in Mesa, Arizona.
I’m here because I’m one of those gig workers. Basically, the business has dried up. There’s no money to be made. I was down to like $4.00 in my bank account and no food. Car payments are late. Everything’s late. So, to me, it’s worth it waiting for probably been over an hour already for this — for this food bag.“
The distribution line is drive-through only, one of many precautions Dave Richins, president and CEO of United Food Bank, has put in place in the wake of the outbreak.
Richins told us by Skype they are serving four times as many people as usual, like many states, enlisting the help of the National Guard.
Dave Richins: “We’re going to start temperature readings on every volunteer that comes. Anybody that’s not in the — a safe temperature range is going to be sent home. We just can’t risk it.
So we’re seeing the Uber driver that has no more fares to pick up. We’re seeing the maid at the local hotel that is not working near as much as she used to.
We’re just seeing a lot more of the recently unemployed in our lines. But the elderly are still there. And so making sure those populations stay separated and safe is important. But the thing that breaks your heart the most are the families with the kids.“
From Los Angeles, California, to Duquesne, Pennsylvania, across the country, cars waiting in mile-long lines to receive food packages.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak began, food banks have seen demand increase by as much as 50 percent in some places”, says Claire Babineaux Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S.
“I depend on food banks, I really do,” veteran Mickey McGuinn said.
In the small town of Buckskin, The Veterans Food Bank of America hasn’t had shelves this bare in years, and James Henager says he’s worried he’ll have to turn veterans away in the coming weeks.
“It could be within the next month that we shut down for a while,” said Henager, Veterans Food Bank of America Chairman. “And then we’re looking at not only the veterans coming here but also two homeless veterans shelters that we send out food to on the average of twice a month.”
Mickey McGuinn, a Veterans Food Bank of America regular, has been coming to the facility for just about two years, and he says he’s noticed a significant difference in how much food is on the shelves.
“There’s help for all veterans here, and I depend on it,” McGuinn said. “Yeah, it’s empty compared to what it usually is. And I’m nervous about it because I do depend on it.”
Half of the people who visit the pantries are older adults, who need to stay home. So pantries are mobilizing: They’re posting social media callouts, hiring translators and renting vans for delivery.
But with movement restrictions, it’s been hard to staff up, especially since the pantries heavily rely on corporate volunteer days. “Having the people power to do transportation and delivery and to change our model is really important and that’s our second concern,” said Tennent.
Experts say the logistics will get tougher to solve. “There’s a lot of specifics about this situation that makes this particularly risky for food-insecure households,” said Judi Bartfeld, a food security researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “So in many ways, I think it’s a perfect storm.”
People who are food insecure often have health problems. And they can’t afford to stock up and hunker down. So they’re more likely to get sick. And for families with kids, losing school lunches will eat into SNAP benefits.
The Black Horse Is Riding
Prophecies in Deuteronomy 28, Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 5 describe the devastating effects that trade war and economic besiegement will have on America in the end time. Details about crop failures are described in Joel 1.
This chapter paints a frightful, desolate picture of starvation and disease.
“The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men” (Joel 1:10-12).
This is a prophecy about corn, wheat and barley grown in America’s Midwest that perished the last year; about grapes, figs and pomegranates grown on America’s West Coast that dried up; about apples grown in Washington and Michigan that withered in 2019.
The Prophet Joel continues: “How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to thee, will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness” (verses 18-20).
Even farm animals will starve. Drought and wildfires will dry up their pastures and burn away their forage. Such disasters are sent by God to destroy America’s food, even as foreign nations refuse to sell agricultural produce to the United States.
America’s current agricultural crisis is setting the stage for these sobering prophecies to be fulfilled.
God promises to send these curses because the American and British people have changed His judgments into wickedness more than other nations and sinned against His statutes more than the countries that are around them (Ezekiel 5:6).
But God also reveals how individuals can be protected from this disaster.
Ezekiel 33:10-11 states, “Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
There is only one way that God will protect us. Our people must turn, turn, turn from our evil ways.
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