“Most Americans are not aware that the U.S. is affected by a food crisis,” says Cat Cora, acclaimed chef, television star and founder of Chefs for Humanity, a nonprofit that helps to provide immediate and reliable access to food and water in the United States and worldwide. “We equate hunger with third-world countries or distant foreign lands that don’t affect our day-to-day life.”

 “Hunger impacts one in seven [people] nationwide,” U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., said in 2015 when introducing a resolution aimed at highlighting the issue of hunger in her district and across the country. “The issue of food insecurity is a serious problem that has been ignored far too long by too many policymakers in Washington.”

According to a USDA report published in 2016, nearly 13 percent of U.S. households (15.8 million families) are food insecure, meaning it’s difficult for them to access adequate food because of a lack of money and other resources. A lack of healthy and nutritious food, in turn, leads to preventable health issues like diabetes, anemia and a weakened immune system, which then leads to the need for good health care, something these families also cannot afford. Chronic hunger also decreases mental focus, which translates to poor learning experiences for hungry children in the classroom; without essential nutrients, young brains cannot properly develop, harming learning abilities over the long term.

But while poverty is a major barrier to food access, it isn’t the sole reason why so many people are going hungry. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that although 1 billion of the world’s 7 billion people in the world suffer from hunger (also referred to as undernutrition), Earth actually has the capacity to successfully feed 10 billion people—the world’s projected population by the year 2050. The problem isn’t supply; it’s a two-fold issue of access and waste.