Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What a Trip!

Facing Hunger in America has finished visiting hunger-related programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  What a trip it’s been! 

We have presented a few talks to share our experiences and summarize our findings, and more are scheduled.  If you’re interested in hosting such a talk, please contact us.

Now we are working on our final summary and report.  In the meantime, we thought you might be interested in a few final statistics about the project.
Beginning in 2009, we visited all the states in phases as follows:
  • 2009, one trip to Massachusetts
  • 2010, three trips: Michigan; three more New England states; and Washington, DC, and the Mid-Atlantic states
  • 2011, two very long trips:  Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the South; and the Northwest, including Alaska
  • 2012, final two trips:  Remaining states in the Northeast; the Southwest, including Hawaii
In all, we drove 38,893 miles.  In addition to driving, we flew to/from Hawaii, took a ferry back to Washington from Alaska, and Carolyn traveled east from Michigan once partly via bicycle and once by plane.  Not counting the nights that one of us stayed with the other in Massachusetts or Michigan, we were away from home 254 nights – 137 nights in 44 campgrounds, 60 nights in motels or other paid lodging, and 57 nights with friends and family.  We also worshipped with 29 different church congregations along our route.

We visited a total of about 93 rograms.  The exact number is a bit arbitrary because most programs we visited actually included several different sub-programs.  We counted a sub-program as a separate program only when its operation was fairly distinct and when we focused on it as a unique program.  Most of the specific programs are listed on the States and Sites page of this blog.

The variety of programs addressing hunger is enormous.  The numbers of each type that we visited add up to way more than 85 because often we learned about more than one type of program being offered as part of the same overall program, for example, a soup kitchen that also ran a food pantry. 

Program type
Number visited
I need to eat now
Soup kitchens
Shelters & day programs
Mobile feeding programs
I need to feed my family later
Food pantries   
Kids’ back pack programs            
Food banks
Feeding America
Low-cost buying programs          
Donation Programs
Food drives
Prepared food salvage
Produce (gardens & gleaning)
Meat, seafood, dairy
Fund raisers
Corporate donations
Federal Food Safety Net
SNAP (food stamps) & WIC (women, infants, children)
School meals
Commodity food programs (TEFAP, FDPIR, CSFP)
Additional Help
Job training
Food & nutrition skills
Ending Hunger:  Inclusive, Healthy Food System
No food deserts
Affordable good-food restaurants
Access to farmers’ markets & local produce
Community gardens & sustainable farms
Ending Hunger: Advocating for Justice
Advocacy groups
Government anti-hunger agencies

Along the way, Facing Hunger in America was aided by hundreds of people who were generous with their time when we interviewed them about their programs, allowed us to volunteer alongside them, helped arrange our visits, provided lodging, and offered tremendous advice and spiritual support.  We’ve assembled many of your names on our Thank You page.  If we missed you, please accept our apologies and let us know so we can make the correction. 

We deeply appreciate your contributions to Facing Hunger in America.  THANK YOU.  Please know that we will carry your contribution forward as we continue to face hunger in America.


  1. Congratulations! What a project, what a journey. Beautiful compilation of your personal experiences - looking forward to seeing the final report. Best wishes from Feeding Laramie Valley in Albany County, Wyoming. Gayle Woodsum.

  2. Carolyn and Betsy - It was a pleasure being one of your stopping points, here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Our organization works hard to feed hungry people, and the job is so big. You have helped create a sense of unity, a feeling that many of us are working together all across the country to help feed those who need it most. Best wishes with your work. Thanks for making the effort to learn more and to be a point of mutual contact.
    - Mike Hickcox, Society of St. Andrew ~ Gleaning America's Fields, Feeding America's Hungry