What Is Food Insecurity?
According to the United Stated Department of Agriculture, food insecurity “is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” To carry on, the USDA notes that hunger can be caused by food insecurity “because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, [resulting] in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation.”
To be more colloquial, food insecurity is the inability to provide enough healthy, nutritious food to one’s self and one’s family to remain satiated and vital.
Why Food Insecurity?
As I was eating in one of my favorite local Indy restaurants, I read a small pamphlet propped up on my table. It was a call-to-arms to support the restaurant’s charity in its fight against food insecurity in the greater Indianapolis area. While it was such a little object, quite possibly unnoticeable to many busy patrons of the restaurant, it got my attention. I believe that that small pamphlet sparked an interest in me to learn more about the problems around me, much like the Catalyst Conference is supposed to do. In particular, I was impacted by the charity’s work because I have been lucky enough to have ample supplies of food and drink at my fingertips all of my life. I was also struck by the suggestion that my city had a major food crisis. I think that many people consider food insecurity to be most present in areas in red on this map…
However, food insecurity is really a major problem in all areas of the earth, more so than one might think.
What I found out was shocking. I learned that, according to the Food Research & Action Center, 19.8% of families with children in Indiana cannot purchase enough food. Nearly one in five. That’s one in five children whose hunger produces downward trends of attentiveness in school and whose development could be stunted by lack of proper nutrients. One in five children who arrive at school on Monday hungry from a weekend with little food. One in five children who cannot easily access food in the summertime.
Thankfully, food pantries, food banks, and local governments work to provide families with the food they need, and many schools provide free lunch to their students. Summer Nutrition Programs also work to provide nutrition to kids in need.
We can help too…
How Can You Help?
To help, try telling your friends and family about the truth of food insecurity in your local area. To do that, you will have to do some research, therefore becoming a more informed member of your community. From this knowledge, let the information spread.
Next, take real action! Push for your local governments to supply both breakfast and lunch to students are public schools to assure that they can perform to their fullest. Alternatively, volunteer. There are probably multiple food banks around your hometown. Volunteer and have a role in changing the lives of others. Below is a video from Gleaners Food Bank, one at which I have volunteered in the past. Watch it to learn about the impacts of food insecurity on people’s lives, and how a little bit of your help can go a long way.
Take this poll to vote on how you can see yourself bettering food insecurity in your local area:
Here are the informative websites I used to research food insecurity in Indianapolis. Check them out yourselves:
“What Hunger Looks Like.” Indy Hunger Network, Indy Hunger Network, 23 Mar. 2017, www.indyhunger.org/get-involved/connect2help. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.
“Definitions of Food Security.” USDA Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 4 Oct. 2016, www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.
“Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.” Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Indiana’s State Association of Food Banks, 20 Sept. 2016, www.feedingindianashungry.org/blog/hunger-data/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.
“Summer Food Service Program.” Summer Food Service Program, Indiana Department of Education, 21 Sept. 2011, www.doe.in.gov/nutrition/summer-food-service-program. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.