Let’s Solve Hunger in the U.S. (here’s how)

Hungry-Child

1 in 6 people in America face hunger.

More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.

50.1 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.

In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.

Source: www.dosomething.org

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Pretty serious stuff huh? A couple of things made me give this some thought. Most of us are so fortunate and take for granted just the simple things in life and never give much thought to those fellow members of the human race that are missing the necessities. We zoom through life trying to make money, provide for our families, gain some happiness and reach our goals. Try imagining doing those things if you were hungry or worse off if your kids were hungry. You’d have to focus strictly on survival instead.

Solving hunger in the U.S. is easy and attainable.

Let’s do it. Here’s how:

1. Everyone reading this, click over to http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/and give a donation of as much as you can. Every $1 feeds 10 people. How do they do that? I have no idea however I trust them as they are ranked 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator. Let the experts do what they do best. I’m giving a $10,000 donation to kickstart this. (One hundred thousand meals). If you are well off, I expect you to do the same, or just give a little more than makes you comfortable doing. You can afford it and most importantly, you will not starve.

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2. Grubhub, I’m calling you out. Not calling you out for a fight or anything, I really like and use your service. In fact, I originally thought of this post while placing an order on your app. For those that aren’t familiar with Grubhub.com, it is an awesome website and app that helps you order food from many restaurants in an easy manner along with reviews and menus of each. I was placing an order for some painters working for me and the bill was about $100. That’s not to say that we were eating expensive food or anything, just typical takeout for a bunch of hungry guys. On top of that, I usually give a 20% tip. It made me think about all the money those of us who are fortunate spend on take out, eating out or even home cooked gourmet meals. I felt bad that there are others out there who not only can’t do that but don’t even have the money to eat at all. Not cool in today’s day and age after all we have accomplished as a society. Back to the stat above about Feeding America being able to provide 10 meals for every $1 donated. Just that meal for the painters could have provided 1,200 meals (including my tip).

Feeding-America-Impact

Grubhub is experiencing major growth as a publicly traded company and it’s company culture seems great and fun. It seems to still think like a fun start-up which I love. It’s market cap is up to 3.5 billion dollars. According to it’s 2014 10K filing, it had 182,800 Daily Average Grubs for that year. That is an amazing 66,722,000 orders (aprox) placed through their platform for the year. Those orders generated $1,787,400,000 in gross food sales (not all that money goes to Grubhub, they get a percentage and the restaurant keeps most of it). Almost 2 billion dollars and growing rapidly processed through the platform last year. Grubhub is clearly the industry leader in online delivery services by alot. I’ll make a bold statement and go out on a limb and say that nobody is ever going to catch them. They are a solid company, have a great customer base of over 5,000,000 people and excellent leadership and branding.

So let’s look at the math. 1.7 billion dollars in gross food sales. 66 million orders. That comes to an average of about $26 per order placed on their platform. If they put a little button on their site while checking out (which is incredibly easy and user friendly) giving the customer an opportunity to round up their order for charity or give any amount they want to help feed the hungry, my guess would be that the average donation would be about $4 per order. Some might give more and match their tip of hopefully $5 (that’s a great way to offer it), some might not give at all and some may be moved by the severity of the above stats and the chance to make a difference in someone’s life and give a large donation. At $4 an order on 66 million orders, the Grubhub platform could help facilitate $266,888,000 in donations per year to help feed the hungry in the U.S. Now I’m not against helping those in other countries however we need to start here first. If we can solve this problem, our economy will get better and in turn we can then help people in other countries as well. That 266 million dollars in donations would provide 2,668,880,000 (2. 6 billion) meals to the hungry. That’s 7,312,000 meals per day from a little button or checkbox on an awesome platform.

According to the United States Census Bureau, our 2014 population was 318.9 million. 1 in 6 people in America face hunger. That’s about 50 million people facing hunger here in the U.S. Now I’m not sure if the stat means that the hungry face it every day or not or exactly how it is measured (dosomething.org can you weigh in on this please), however I am certain that 7 million meals per day just through Grubhub will make a massive dent and positively change people’s lives (and that doesn’t include Grubhub continuing it’s super growth and increasing it’s Daily Average Grubs as it has continued to do). Matt and Jonathan, please let’s make this happen. 😉

Kid-Getting-Food

3. Starbucks, you are getting called out as well. I love Starbucks too. I probably drink 5 espressos per day although most of the time not from Starbucks. I do frequent them often when I’m out and need one. We as Americans love the fact that we are spending more for the best. Their drinks are an indulgence for most people which is why I am calling them out. Based on some quick internet research, Starbucks average ticket is between $4 and $5. Let’s have the ability to round up on our orders there as well and give that money to feed the hungry. It’s the least we can do when that one cup of coffee at $4 can feed 40 people instead. I’m not saying that we should stop indulging on their tasty drinks or stop frequenting Starbucks. I’m all for the better things in life and for awesome businesses providing products, services and jobs (and profits). I just feel that when we are splurging it is the opportune time to give back as well. Starbucks serves approximately 60 million people per week. If we could average a $1 donation from each customer that would be $3,120,000,000 (3.1 billion) in donations per year. 31,200,000,000 (31 billion) meals per year or 85,479,452 meals for the hungry per day. Even if the average donation was only .50 per visitor and not a full $1, we are getting very close.

Starbucks, you can solve the hunger problem in this country.

stop hunger

4. Papa John’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Subway, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, Panera, IHOP, Chipotle, 7-Eleven; you get the picture. Why aren’t any of these large food providers doing more to stop hunger? I haven’t researched each and I’m sure many of them do alot to help out with charities (as do Grubhub and Starbucks above as well) however feeding the hungry should go hand in hand with feeding their customers. Why do we all work so hard in our jobs and our companies each day if we are not making the world a better place? Life shouldn’t just be about profits (although I’m a big fan of them too). We can do both. Many supermarket chains already ask you if you want to donate to help feed the hungry when checking out, prepared food providers should all be doing the same as well. CEO’s of these companies and others, I hereby challenge you to make a difference. You’re customers will appreciate it and you can contribute in a positive way to society and leave the world a better place.

Child poverty

5. Pay off hunger first. Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman teach financial education to Americans and one of their prime teachings include how to best pay off your credit cards. The simple way to explain it is to pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first and then focus on the next highest interest rate. When it comes to charity and the economy, hunger causes the biggest impact. Someone who is hungry is either not working to their potential or cannot better their life or the lives of others as they are concerned with survival. If we can get everyone properly fed first, the other pieces of the betterment of life and the economy will fall into place. Think about it, if we eliminated hunger, people would be more productive, we would have more innovation (yes, I’m sure that there are amazing people out there with ideas that could change the world or create jobs however they are too busy trying to find ways to stay nourished to go out and make those ideas happen). Once we eliminate hunger, the increased economic output of the country would enable us to pay down and off other problems facing the country including domestic violence, diseases and poverty. The idea here would be to encourage those giving to other charities to give to hunger fighting charities first and even if the other charities suffer in the short term, they will be better off in the long term. Dave and Suze, help get this idea to spread please.

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6. Acquisitions or mergers of food charities by other food charities. There are so many great food charities out there, many of which are local. Many of which are in the same communities as each other. The problem with that is there are overlaps and inefficiencies as a results of that. Multiple corporate infrastructures are not necessary. By combining forces, these charities could eliminate massive costs and instead move much of the money donated to them directly to help those in need. Clearly, some jobs would be lost in the process however the greater good would be better served and our world would be a better place. Based on the overall increase to the economic output of the nation once everyone is fed, those who lost their jobs should be able to find new ones relatively easily.

child having spaghetti

7. Tie in to weight loss programs. It is somewhat of an interesting (and disturbing) thing that so many in our country are overweight while others are hungry or starving. As someone who lost 65 pounds in 2014 (with 20 or so more to go this year), I think back and realize that not only shouldn’t I have been that heavy but that it could have motivated me to lose weight if I had been thinking about those who don’t have food. So those of you who can stand to lose a couple of pounds, before you pick up that cheeseburger or get some ice cream, why not donate the money you would have spent on that to charity to help someone who really needs the food. Plus you’ll be doing good for your health. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Isagenix, Nutrisystem, Anytime Fitness, Equinox, Curves, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Crunch and others should all give serious thought to implementing the facilitation of charitable donations to feed the hungry within their marketing plans.Barack & Michelle Obama can also spark fixing this problem inside of their eating right campaign for kids.

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Are there more ideas? Absolutely. I think this is a good start however none of it will mean anything unless action is taken. Hopefully you’ll do your part and the companies mentioned above will as well. I hope this has helped and look forward to your comments. If you do nothing else, please share this post on linkedin, facebook and twitter so we can turn this into a movement and create positive change. I have nothing financial to gain by this post and no link to any of the companies mentioned. I just want to help and do my part to make the world a better place. Have an amazing day! 😉