In a nation where some women do "extreme couponing" for fun, there are many who do it out of necessity — an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. don't have the money to put enough food on the table. Of those 50 million who suffer from food insecurity, 5.9 million are young children — most often belonging to single mothers who struggle to pay the bills every month, and who have to choose between paying the rent and buying enough groceries to feed a hungry household.
Before the recession, "women were already in poverty, and now it's worse," says Aishah Miller, Deputy Director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at the Drexel University School of Public Health. She's only been involved with the Center for three months, but already sees the organization expanding rapidly due to new funding and the tireless advocacy work many women are doing.
Dr. Mariana Chilton, a researcher at the Center working with impoverished and hungry people, started the
Witnesses to Hunger project in 2009 — she gave 40 digital cameras to 40 women to document their struggles, developed an exhibit, and took it around the country to help raise awareness. The Center for Hunger-Free Communities will even host its first annual National Conference on Hunger and Poverty next May in Philadelphia, where real people will talk about real solutions to the hunger crisis.
The women at the Center for Hunger-Free Communities aren't the only ones making strides — Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobsen funded and directed a documentary film called Hungry in America, which will feature Witnesses to Hunger and debut in the 2012 festival circuit.
If you want to help, you can donate online to Witnesses to Hunger and/or the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. Your donations allow impoverished women to participate in the national dialogue on hunger in America, receive computer, financial literacy, and professional training, and receive entrepreneurial and savings advice and assistance.