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Whitaker – A Charity/Partnership for U.S. Food Security

Whitaker, William H. “A Charity/Partnership for U.S. Food Security.” Social Work 38, 4 (1993): 494-497.

Scholar William H. Whitaker first discusses his first encounter with hunger was when he had to bring a can of food during his Sunday school class as a young boy. His article then goes onto discuss what hunger meant to real people and uses his experience in the Southside Settlement in Columbus, Ohio during Christmas and having to make baskets of food resembling a meal out of whatever was donated to the charity. His opening experiences set the stage for his argument of a charity and justice partnership for U.S. Food Security.

The United States mentality or response to  hunger is predominately to provide some sort of charity based aid. Whitaker goes onto to add that private charity is significant in helping short-term emergencies. However, he believes that the lack of funding for nutrition plans by the federal government paired with the economic recession has stressed the private charity sector almost to its breaking point. He goes onto to provide statistics of the swift regression over the past two decades. Whitaker’s argument is that charity is indeed essential in order to fight against hunger, however, it cannot be our only solution because charity cannot keep up with hunger.

His solution to the fight against hunger is to pair charity with justice. When defining justice, he believes that one must look at the root of the problem and its causes to then develop adequate responses. The responses must develop a solution toward self-reliance. One of his responses is to influence state and federal public policy to address the food security issue in our nation. The statistics Whitaker provided to help support his claim is that according to the findings from the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project (CCHIP), one out of every four children under the age of twelve is suffering from a food shortage. These are alarming statistics that show the food security issue does in fact need to be addressed, thus a campaign by the CCHIP was created and launched. However, the author does explain that these campaigns are only a step in the right direction and eligibility is limited, therefore more responses to the problem need to occur. Whitaker concludes by saying that the problem is great, but believes that hunger can be replaced by food security through the pairing of charity and justice.

William H. Whitaker is currently a professor at Boise State University in the School of Social Work. He has produced numerous works on not only food security but also social welfare. He earned his doctorate from Brandeis University and has two masters from Ohio State University. He has been teaching or in the world of academia since 1970. His expertise are highly regarded in terms of social welfare and topics of food security. Whitaker’s argument and the topic of food security especially as it pertains to the United States is an essential topic when talking about food and communication. As the world continues to experience food shortages, this will become a topic that will need additional research and strategic solutions to address the problem.

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