LILONGWE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun a new round of life-saving relief operations in Malawi where as many as 6.5 million people – nearly 40 percent of the population – may require emergency assistance in coming months. This is set to become the largest ever emergency food relief operation in the country’s history.
School Lunch Program subsidizes all participating schools’ meals, regardless of family income, and increases this subsidy so that families under 185% of the federal poverty level are able to pay a reduced price for lunch and those under 130% of the federal poverty level do not pay anything toward the cost of the meal. Many schools also participate in the School Breakfast Program, which similarly provides funding so that an additional meal can be provided for free or at a reduced price. WIC provides coupons to pregnant and postpartum women, and children under 5 that can be redeemed in grocery stores for certain pre-selected foods. The provision of emergency food relief to needy Americans is indicative of a caring and compassionate society. Individuals, community groups, food companies, and legislators work together to ensure that people in need are able to meet their most basic needs. However, all of these sources of food also represent artifacts of our excessive, unjust, and inefficient capitalist system. And although the food distribution network prudently provides food to people who would otherwise not have sufficient access, it does not effectively address the underlying cause of hunger: poverty. While it is wonderful and appreciated that corporations share their excess with charitable food relief organizations, that money is surely a product of measures taken to ensure corporate profitability, including worker exploitation and environmental degradation. The principles upon which corporate enterprises operate naturally lead to low-wage employment and a certain level of unemployment, leaving many people destitute and hungry. Product innovation and technology drives much of the supply for food banks. New products replace those that are no longer in fashion. Technology expedites the process of bringing new foods to the market. Because foods have a limited shelf life, supply constantly rotates so that safe foods are available. In order to ensure sufficient supply on the global market, excess food products are produced. Of course, there is some unreliability in the harvesting of agricultural goods; crop yields vary from year to year.