America’s New Face of Hunger


By Dave Ross

The Osgood Files, CBS Radio • Aug. 6, 2014


This is Dave Ross, in for Charles Osgood, on the CBS Radio Network.

America doesn’t have a hunger problem. The official term is “food insecurity”. 


SOT – Tracie McMillan
“Folks who maybe know what they’re having for dinner tonight, but they’re not really sure about tomorrow night – and they have no idea what’s going on next week.” (:05)

So officially, it’s not “hunger” – but to the families that reporter Tracie McMillan talked to, it sure feels that way.

More after this from David Harris of AJC…

((( BREAK )))

The current issue of “National Geographic” visits families in Iowa, Texas and New York City to find out what it means to be among the 48 million Americans who report they run out of food at least once a year.

What reporter Tracie McMillan found was a lot of families – more and more of them living in the suburbs, supported by a single parent with a full-time job whose second job is the constant search for food.

She heard this story at food bank in Iowa…

SOT – Tracie McMillan
“Leo Chisholm – who runs a food bank – knows a lot of the businessmen in town. It’s a little town. And he was talking to one of them – and they said, ‘You know, Leo – who are these people that come into your food bank? Just exactly who are these people that can’t get it together?’ The intimation was that these were lazy people that were sort of gaming the system. And Leo turned around – and he said, ‘Well, two of them work for you…'” (:18)

The point being that when employers can’t – or don’t – pay their employees enough, someone else always makes up the difference…

SOT – Tracie McMillan
“And that’s why they’re turning to food banks and to SNAP. Not because they don’t feel like working – it’s that they’re not earning enough money at the jobs that they have.” (:07)

One of the things that seems to make Americans less sympathetic is seeing so many overweight poor people.

McMillan says that’s often a symptom of the daily scramble for food…

SOT – Tracie McMillan
“A working mom then has to build in an extra hour in her day any time she wants to get fruits and vegetables.” (:06)

And so, she ends up buying fast food, because it’s cheap and it keeps the kids quiet.

The top source of calories for low-income Americans: soda and energy drinks – followed closely by processed chicken and desserts…

SOT – Tracie McMillan
“I knew it was bad – but I didn’t understand how bad until I did this piece for National Geographic.” (:05)

The Osgood File. Dave Ross on the CBS Radio Network.

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