At some point in our lives we all experience that sinking feeling as we peer into an empty refrigerator and reflect on our equally empty checking account. The term for this circumstance is “food insecurity,” referring to the fact that we aren’t sure where the next meal is coming from, and it probably won’t be even close to nutritionally balanced when it does come. I especially remember my college days when I was living on financial aid and Ramen Noodles. Thankfully, this was usually a transitory experience lasting a few days or at most a couple of weeks until the next paycheck came in. Others are not so lucky.
Almost 30% of the children in our county live at or below the poverty level, experiencing food insecurity on a daily basis. The cause of poverty and hunger is vast and multi-faceted. For some, company downsizing can cause difficulties for families unused to privation. Other families may be experiencing hardships due to medical emergencies or the death of a primary wage earner. In the past several years, the recession was a major factor for struggling families.
Food pantries are an important outlet for those of us who want to combat hunger in our community. They offer a temporary reprieve for families facing unexpected hunger. Fortunately for our community, there are over 40 different pantries attempting to alleviate these crises in St. Joseph County alone. Help can materialize in many forms, and there is a lot you can do!
It’s easy to see a large social problem like hunger and feel powerless, but a little help can go a long way. The most popular way to fight hunger is to donate non-perishable foods to your local food pantry, such as the one housed in the Kroc Center’s Family Resource Center. Volunteers are often needed for a variety of tasks to assist with sorting and distributing food. You can also get involved in fun promotional activities such as Hunger Action Month in September.
For more information on ways you can get involved visit The Kroc Center website or leave a comment here!