I'm new to Massachusetts - new to the country, in fact (moved here recently from the UK) so I was surprised to read of the work being done by Project Bread
Apparently, the town that I'm now living in has a 6 times greater than average prevalence of hunger than the statewide average, and one in three children are living in a home where the family struggles to put food on the table. I admit, this is quite a shock to me. They say some families have given up on three meals a day - only able to afford 2.
Arriving in America, and reading of food stamps and food banks on the back of cereal boxes was quite the surprise - it's not something you hear about from outside the US so much. In the UK, there's probably just as large a proportion of needy people, but they are on benefits and I suppose I'm more used to hearing that than imagining people lining up at food banks to get their sustenance.
Project Bread, from what I've read, organizes soup kitchens, food banks, negotiates to get children breakfasts before school, and during the summer. They have a yearly sponsored walk for hunger - both to raise money and awareness.
Apparently, the large divide between the wealthy and the poor in Massachusetts means that basic provisions are frequently priced out of the reach of those who are least affluent - because retailers and suppliers can price to the budget of the well off. This seems particularly unpleasant. I suppose in the UK, I'd be used to far more concentrated areas of wealth division - you could travel a mere 2 miles and find shops selling extreme budget groceries at one end, and high-end expensive gourmet shops at the other end. In the US, it seems that with the country so huge, such drastic differences aren't as pronounced or accessible.
Quite an eye opener - I'm feeling very foreign.