National Survey Finds Bi-Partisan Majority Look to Government to Lead Much-Needed Fight Against Hunger
A new survey finds that Americans believe that hunger is a serious problem in the U.S. and that government, more than individuals or communities, must play a key role in helping solve it. The survey, commissioned by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), found that 45 percent of Americans say that hunger in the U.S. is a “serious problem" Just 15 percent do not believe hunger is a problem at all in the United States today.
According to the survey, two out of five Americans have either experienced hunger in the past year or personally know someone who has – that includes nearly half of people aged 18 to 34. Nearly three in 10 Americans (and half of millennials) say that either they or a member of their immediate family have used government food assistance programs in the past couple of years. That includes at least 25 percent of nearly every major demographic subgroup. While the survey showed widespread awareness of hunger as a regional and national challenge, still only 24 percent of respondents believed it was a problem in their own communities.
Women are more attuned to the issue of hunger and the need to address it. Fifty-two percent of women say hunger in the U.S. is a serious problem while 36 percent of men say the same. Sixty-three percent of women, compared to 49 percent of men, believe that hunger has worsened since the recession. This cuts across party lines with 56 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents believing hunger today is more a problem than before the economic recession began in 2008.
The gender gap narrows when people are asked about solutions: Fifty-one percent of women and 45 percent of men say that Congress needs to do more to address the problem. Only 18 percent overall think that fewer resources should be allocated on hunger relief programs.
“The vast majority of Americans believe that hunger is a major problem for the country, and they are looking to government to lead and develop solutions,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President. “For Congress, the answer is clear. Americans want to see investments in food assistance programs that help struggling families get the food they need.”
The belief that the government needs to display leadership in the fight against hunger crossed party lines.
“Tyson Foods has been working for many years to help alleviate hunger in America by donating millions of pounds of products to local food banks and by supporting federal policies such as the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), said Annetta Young, director of corporate social responsibility for Tyson Foods. “The data from this survey tells us that Americans believe it’s a serious problem and they expect government, faith-based communities, and non-profit entities to work together to address it.”
Many also acknowledge that hunger adversely impacts people in a number of ways, with more than two-thirds believing that each of the following situations happen often in America today: that children are eating less nutritious and cheap food so their parents can scrape together money to pay the rent, that seniors are choosing whether to pay for prescriptions or food, that families could go a week without fresh produce, and that many children are going hungry in the summer when school is out.
When looking specifically at the child nutrition programs – especially school meals and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program – people believe that they are leading to better outcomes for children by helping them learn and improving their overall health and well-being. By more than three to one, Americans believe that spending on such programs should increase (50 percent) rather than decrease (15 percent).
This bipartisan survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, a Republican firm, to gauge Americans’ attitudes and perceptions of hunger, and follows up on research the two organizations commissioned in 2011. A total of 1,558 adults across the United States age 18 and over were interviewed online from July 29 through August 6, 2014. More findings on the survey can be found by visiting: http://bit.ly/SlNHeC
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The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the lead advocacy organization working to end hunger in America through stronger public policies. For more information, visit www.frac.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/foodresearchandactioncenter or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/fractweets.
About Tyson Foods, Inc.
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world’s largest producers of chicken, beef, pork and prepared foods that include leading brands such as Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Sara Lee®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®. The company was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, whose family has continued to lead the business with his son, Don Tyson, guiding the company for many years and grandson, John H. Tyson, serving as the current chairman of the board of directors. Tyson Foods provides a wide variety of protein-based and prepared foods products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, supplying customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries. It has approximately 124,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.
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