Food Insecurity: How the Problem is Being Tackled Locally and Nationally


PleasantValleyCSD Twitter

The Pleasant Valley School District hopes to reach a goal of 100,000 pounds of food for the River Bend Food Bank.

Kushi Maridu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Over 34 million people, including 9 million children, were food insecure in the United States in 2021. With the hunger crisis ravaging the country, President Joe Biden announced a plan on Sept. 28 to end hunger and curb diet-related issues by 2030, using donations from non-profit groups and private corporations.

The project’s mission reads on the government health website: “End hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.”

 In September, the Biden-Harris administration released a strategy that the federal government will follow. This strategy includes allocating more than $8 billion to help end hunger. Most of this money is donated from large pharmaceutical companies, corporations and lobby groups.

This program will roll out as five pillars. The first checkpoint is to “Improve food access and affordability.” The next step is to “Integrate nutrition and health.” The third step is to “Empower consumers to make and have access to healthy choices.” The fourth pillar is to “Support physical activity for all.” Finally, the government plans to “Enhance nutrition and food security research.”

The government hopes for all of these phases to be complete by 2030, with the help of gyms, food companies, pharmaceuticals, schools and more corporations.

While the government is planning to end hunger in the long term for all of America, the Pleasant Valley School District is countering hunger in the community.

Last year, PV collected over 79,000 pounds of food during the annual PV Student Hunger Drive, which amounted to over 175,000 meals. The River Bend Food Bank as a whole received a record amount of approximately 735,000 meals.

The local Student Hunger Drive is a six-week long friendly competition to see which school in the area can raise the most amount of food. PV’s goal this year is to raise 100,000 pounds of food for the River Bend Food Bank. 

To achieve this, the Spartan Assembly, PV’s student council, plans on hosting and organizing a variety of events to get students motivated to donate. On Oct. 16, the student council held a co-ed reverse powderpuff volleyball tournament. This was a huge success and raised more than 2,500 pounds of food.

Spartan Assembly Senior Executive Member Julianne Binto believes the district has been doing a lot of donating. “The hunger drive events have been incredible for collecting donations, but also for getting the whole school involved. Reverse powderpuff had a lot of participation which was awesome because we were able to both collect a lot cans and have a fun event that got students involved with the hunger drive. Our goal has risen this year from 80,000 to 100,000lbs, but the amount of donations we’ve received has also gone up a lot. This year, we’re holding more events and doing more to get the junior high and elementaries involved, which has helped a lot with getting more donations,” Binto shared.

The Spartan Assembly is also planning to host a powderpuff football tournament, a trivia and musical bingo night and teacher versus students basketball game for additional donations. On top of these efforts, the PV teachers have done a great job of motivating students to donate.

For a period of time, math teacher Sacco offered to take a student’s BeReal for a donation of $1. Earlier in the challenge, Sacco wore a hotdog costume when his class brought in 100 cans. Science teacher Audrey Holland offered the incentive of a s’mores party with Bunsen burners to her class period that raised the most cans.

“Well, I’m not really in it to win it. I don’t really care about ‘winning’ the hunger drive. It’s about motivating the students to give something. It’s pretty easy for me to do something silly in return,” Sacco shared.

Seeing that everyone is doing their best to support the Student Hunger Drive, it seems the goal of raising 100,000 pounds is within reach.

With the River Bend Food Bank and nearby schools hoping to prevent hunger at a local level and the government planning on ending hunger altogether by 2030, the future looks bright for many food insecure families throughout the United States.