Hungry in the USA

If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much. -- Marian Wright Edelman

When my friend, pediatrician Lucy Crain, asked if I would be willing to work on the issue of local childhood hunger my first response was confusion. Hungry children in the U.S., this was an issue?  In fact per a CDC survey, 20% of children in the U.S. don’t have access to enough nutritious food. In the San Francisco Bay Area—Silicon Valley—where I live that figure is as high as 25%.

The title of the photography project “Who’s Hungry? You Can’t Tell by Looking” was her idea. She was concerned because pediatricians didn’t regularly screen their young patients for hunger. The images from this project—half of children from hungry families and half not—reached 65,000 pediatricians in online newsletters nationally. They also impacted thousands of visitors to the California state capitol where they hung outside the governor’s office.

In 2015 the national leadership conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics passed a resolution to ensure that pediatricians routinely screen for childhood hunger. Thank you Lucy, for making me aware of this issue. Thank you to the Northern Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for your support. And thanks to all the children and families who participated in this photography project. I am the only person who knows which family belongs to which category, and I’m pretty sure you can’t tell who is who by looking.