According to the national non-profit organization, Feeding America, in 2021: 33.8 million people lived in food-insecure households. 8.6 million adults lived in households with very low food security. 5.0 million children lived in food-insecure households in which children, along with adults, were food insecure.
The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we measure how many people can’t afford food.
Causes of food insecurity
Unfortunately, many people in America struggle to meet their basic needs, which increases their risk of food insecurity. For example, lay-offs at work, unexpected car maintenance, or an accident can suddenly force a family to choose between buying food and paying bills.
The causes of food insecurity are complex. Some of the causes of food insecurity include:
- Poverty, unemployment, or low income
- Lack of affordable housing
- Chronic health conditions or lack of access to healthcare
- Systemic racism and racial discrimination
Food pantries are often the only source of free healthy and nutritious food in a neighborhood, and they often provide other critical resources. A community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area.
In recognition of National Nutrition Month and National Social Work Month, the departments worked together on a fund raiser for food pantries. Shirts were offered to our staff for purchase with proceeds to benefit two local food pantries in our service area: the Collinsville Food Pantry and Staunton Helping Hands. Our Anderson Healthcare staff met the call and over 560 shirts were sold raising enough to donate $608.53 to each pantry organization!