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AUSTIN, Minn. -- A majority of Americans believe that the hunger problem in the United States is increasing and that it already is as bad or worse than in other developed countries, according to The Hormel Hunger Survey: A National Perspective.
Conducted by Hormel Foods Corp. in conjunction with America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network, the survey gauges Americans' views on hunger in the United States. Results of this year's survey found 61 percent of respondents saying the hunger problem is increasing; 28 percent believing it remains the same and; 11 percent believing the problem is decreasing. Only half of those surveyed think the U.S. is at least somewhat successful at ensuring that people in this country do not go hungry.
In addition, 40 percent of Americans believe that hunger is a larger problem in the U.S. than in other developed countries, with 36 percent believing it is roughly the same. Only 24 percent believe hunger is a larger problem in Canada or in Western European countries than in the United States.
Many respondents to the survey had first-hand experience with hunger. One in ten (11 percent) said they or someone in their immediate family has gone to bed hungry in the past month because they could not afford enough food. One in five (20 percent) said they personally or someone in their immediate family has received food from a food bank, shelter or other charitable organization in the past year because of lack of money or food. Of those who have not received food from a food bank or shelter, another 30 percent think they too may need this kind of help due to rising costs or other changes in circumstances.
"These statistics clearly demonstrate broad-based concern among Americans about this issue and underscore the need for government, the private sector and charitable organizations, such as America's Second Harvest, to remain focused on delivering short- and long-term solutions," said Jeff Ettinger, Hormel's president and chief executive. "We hope this survey sheds some additional light on this national problem, and that it fuels further work toward a solution."
Hormel Foods is an "Official Protein Sponsor" of America's Second Harvest and in 2006 has provided nearly $1 million in financial, product and program support for the organization's effort to end hunger nationally. Hormel Foods also is hosting the first-ever Minnesota Hunger Summit on Dec. 4 in Minneapolis to bring together relevant groups to discuss the problem from multiple perspectives, and to help those groups work together to end hunger in Minnesota.
"These survey findings demonstrate that the average American understands that hunger is a real and pervasive problem in our country," said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of America's Second Harvest. "We hope that everyone in a position to help is listening - and that they will work with us to end hunger in America. These survey results will be very helpful in supporting our ongoing efforts."