Be careful when you opt to wander off the beaten path; what you come across might change your direction altogether. What award-winning journalist Loretta Schwartz-Nobel saw when she took a shortcut to work one daythree rail-thin children foraging through a city dumpstercompelled her to take a cross-country journey on another road less traveled, into the desperate lives of people who suffer from "America's silent and hidden disease": hunger. What she uncovers is an epidemic of unimaginable proportions within the world's most prosperous nation. The stories of the hungry children, women, and men Schwartz-Nobel encounters along the way form the basis of her new book, Growing Up Empty: The Hunger Epidemic in America.
A road map for those who are invisible, Growing Up Empty blends solid investigative journalism with sincere personal exposition and captures the helplessness and terror that torment people who don't have enough food to eat. Today, more than 36 million people in the United States live in food-insecure households, and at least 12 million of them are children under age 12. I use these well-documented numbers every day at the anti-hunger advocacy organization where I work, but I was not prepared to be so moved by the stories I read in Schwartz-Nobel's book.