Volunteers prepare meals for homeless and impoverished people at the St. Anthony Foundation dining room in San Francisco. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As most of us get ready to gather around a bountiful Thanksgiving feast next week... and gorge on turkey and pumpkin pie, here's something to think about:
45 million Americans were food insecure last year - according to an Agriculture Department report.
This means they had difficulty feeding one or more of their members because they didn't have enough money. That's 14.7 percent of all U.S. households - or about one of every seven.
The situation was especially bad for about one-third of the households which reported very low food security.
These numbers are higher than in 2008, and represent the highest levels since the government starting keeping track 15 years ago.
The report found the households most likely to go hungry included those headed by single parents. Access to food was also worse in big cities and among African-Americans and Hispanics.
Out of the 50 states, food insecurity was highest in Arkansas - at nearly 18 percent - and lowest in North Dakota, at close to seven percent.
With numbers like these, it's no surprise that more people are participating in government-sponsored food programs:
More than 15 million households used food stamps in any given month in 2009 - that's a 20 percent jump from the year before. Rates also rose for the free lunch program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
The report also shows the number of households getting emergency food from a food pantry almost doubled between 2007 and 2009.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when U.S. hunger is at the highest level in 15 years?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Lene in Illinois writes:
It means we need to bring jobs back to the U.S. and stop giving our resources out to people who don't belong in this country in the first place.
Doug in Arizona writes:
Jack, It simply, although gravely, means that we need to stop spending money on these useless wars overseas and start taking care of our own people for God's sake.
Jack, Obviously it means the Bush tax cuts are working.
Robert in Connecticut writes:
It means we are truly well on our way to being a third world country.
Candy in Florence, Massachusetts writes:
My husband is a pediatrician in an urban, low-income area. The biggest problem he sees? Obesity. Doesn't compute. Resources and education are needed on so many levels.
Looks to me that we need to be focusing on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. The focus on health care and all the other issues is starting to catch up to our leaders. If people are not making money, they will get hungry.
Dave in New Hampshire writes:
Before America spends another dime on foreign aid, we should make sure all Americans are fed! I don't want to sound cold but what business do we have feeding other countries if we can't even feed our own?
Dave in Orlando, Florida writes:
I think at least half of us know what it means, who was responsible and why the greatest nation in the world has to be shamed once again with statistics like this. But I'd like to make a suggestion: go out and buy a Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixins. Take that basket of groceries to your local fire house and tell them to give it to some family who really, really needs a break. I guarantee they will know just who to give it to.