The United States of America is considered the melting pot of the world, filled with people of all different religions, races, ethnicities, countries, and backgrounds. While we are lucky to live in a nation filled with such a rich and diverse population, it is clear that certain groups of people experience life very differently. Minority groups in America often struggle when it comes to receiving equal treatment, creating obstacles in their day-to-day life. Latinos are no exception, and a large hurdle this group faces on a daily basis is the struggle with food insecurity.
There are more than 56 million Latinos in the United States, making up about 18% of the entire population. Higher rates of food insecurity in the Latino community are a direct effect of racial discrimination, and on average, the median income of Latino households is $17,000 dollars less than the median income of white households. Besides facing lower income, Latinos face significantly higher rates of unemployment, making it hard to provide both a roof over their head and the daily food that they need. According to Bread for the World, Latinos are twice as likely as white citizens to face food insecurity, and 1 in 5 Latino households have at least one person going hungry.
High rates of food insecurity amongst Latinos is not only caused by discrimination in the job market. Many lower-resourced schools throughout the country are located in Latino communities, leading to higher levels of dropouts. Sixty-six percent of Latinos who immediately entered the workforce or military without going to college stated that they did so to help support their families. Without higher education, finding a job that provides a steady income to live on becomes much harder, but this is not an option for many young Latinos. This all goes to show that many institutional deficiencies lead to hunger within the Latino community.
For many Latinos, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has helped keep sufficient food on the table. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on any given month in 2016, SNAP helped keep food on the table for 10 million Latinos, who represent more than 20% of all SNAP participants. Not only has SNAP kept food on the table, but this program also lifted 2.5 million Latinos out of poverty in 2016, including 1.2 million children. While SNAP has done an incredible job to help struggling Latino live more comfortably, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done in order to ensure people of all backgrounds can live without the stress of worrying where their next meal will come from.
Every action taken in the fight against hunger, both large and small, is a tremendous help for those in the greatest need. There are many different ways you can get involved and fight hunger in your community today!