Wise Words, October 2018
Food insecurity. Two words that have started working their way into our lives. What do they mean? Simply put – a person without reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable and nutritious food is food insecure.
In Iowa we are fortunate to live in an area that is among the most fertile soils in the world. Iowa and surrounding states produce an amazing amount of food every year. Yet, people in Iowa, the region, and the United States go hungry every moment of the day.
Dosomething.org shares these facts about hunger in the US:
- 1 in 6 people in America face hunger.
- The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. In 2011, households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children: 20.6% versus 12.2%.
- Food insecurity exists in every county in America. In 2013, 17.5 million households were food insecure. More and more people are relying on food banks and pantries.
- 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.
- In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.
- More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.
- Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day. Less than half of them get breakfast, and only 10% have access to summer meal sites.
- For every 100 school lunch programs, there are only 87 breakfast sites and just 36 summer food programs.
- 1 in 7 people are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly half of them are children.
- 40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.
Those are pretty startling facts!
What can we do? In conversations with Reverend Rebecca the concept of food insecurity came about. There are folks in our congregation who are food insecure. People who need help. This week a new cabinet is scheduled to be delivered to the church. We are going to use it as a small food pantry.
During the month of October we are holding a food drive. We are going to invite the children in Faith Formation to bring items to fill the pantry and help the local food banks. This helps them learn the importance of giving and caring for others!
Members of the congregation are also invited to bring non-perishable food items! We will start receiving items on October 7. There will be areas designated for the food items to be placed.
In an effort to help highlight the issues of food insecurity and food needs we will be plotting out a labyrinth in the Ely room the first week of November. Marion Patterson reached out to some of her friends who design labyrinth’s and they agreed to help us! The lines of the walk will be filled with the food items brought to the church. The labyrinth will be used by Faith Formation kids on November 4. It will also be open to the congregation and possibly the public. More details will follow.
Come help us help those in need.