Hunger 101


If you’re like most people, your stomach rumbles with a gnawing feeling when you get hungry. If you ignore this physical signal to eat, you might experience more significant consequences—lightheadedness, headaches, and irritability for example. Fortunately, your next meal or quick snack quickly alleviates these symptoms. For most of us, hunger is temporary.

Now imagine that you are hungry and there is no next meal. There is no quick snack. And you’re not sure when your next meal will be because you just used your last few dollars to put gas in the car, buy diapers, or pay a school fee for your child. This is reality for thousands of our fellow citizens every day.


1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.

synonyms: lack of food, hungriness, ravenousness, emptiness;

Hunger Glossary

Food Bank vs Food Pantry: community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area. Independent community food pantries are self-governing and usually distribute food to their clients on a once-a-month basis. A food bank is the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly.

501 (c) (3): A private not-for-profit corporation with charitable intent, as defined by Section 501 (c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Section 501 (c) has several dozen subsections, but Section170 (e) (3) restricts the distribution of donated goods by food banks to only those described under subsection 501 (c) (3).

Emergency Food: food that is given to individuals who do not have the means to acquire that food themselves,
typically from either a food bank or meal program.

Food Desert: food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful
wholefoods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers.

Food Insecurity: When the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain.

Hunger: the USDA determined that while hunger is difficult to measure, it “should refer to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness,
or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation.”

Malnutrition: a condition resulting from inadequate consumption or excessive consumption of a nutrient; can impair physical and mental health and contribute to, or result from, infectious diseases; general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health (Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia).

Poverty: the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.

Working Poor: a term used to describe individuals and families who maintain regular employment, but remain
in poverty due to low levels of pay and dependent expenses.

Food Stamps: Federally mandated, state administered food assistance program which provides
money coupons to needy people; stamps can be used to buy food in stores.

Perishable Foods: fresh produce, milk, eggs, meat, frozen goods, baked goods, any food with a short shelf life or a need for refrigeration.

Non-perishable : foods that do not require refrigeration, canned goods, cereal, snacks, rice, pasta, peanut butter, etc.

Foods Community Kitchen “Soup Kitchen”: A charitable program providing hot meals to homeless and low-income residents of a neighborhood or community. Community kitchen programs are volunteer-led. Often referred to as a "soup kitchen."

Prepared Food: food prepared for serving in a soup kitchen

Salvage: product that has been damaged either at the warehouse or retail level. Product that typically passes through reclamation centers.

FIFO | First In, First Out: FIFO is a best practice for managing the quality and safety of food. It is
a method of inventory rotation in which the oldest items are shipped/distributed first to minimize waste.

FPL | Federal Poverty Line: A measure used to determine the household income level for a family to be considered in poverty. The measurement was developed in 1965 by multiplying the USDA’s economy food plan by three. The measurement is updated each year based on price increases reflected in the Consumer Price Index. Also referred to as the Poverty Line.

FRAC | Food Research and Action Center: An anti-hunger research and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Feeding America’s annual spring policy conference is co-hosted with FRAC, and FRAC often works in partnership with FA on public policy issues.

Gleaning: the act of harvesting excess or unmarketable produce from a farm. The Bible contains a number of references to the practice as a way to feed the needy.

Good Samaritan Law | The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996, P.L. 104-210 (October 1, 1996): designed
to encourage the donation of food and groceries to non-profit charitable agencies, the law states that any business which donates to a non-profit organization in good faith is protected from legal liability should a donated product later cause harm to the end user/client.