1 in 9 families in America are facing food insecurity. In 2019, it was reported by the USDA that food insecurity was impacting an estimated 35 million Americans. In 2020, that number has since increased as a direct result of the pandemic.
The effects of the pandemic are still very much present in 2021. The U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics reported that in this past April, California had one of the highest unemployment rates. The overall number of Americans who are facing food insecurity has also gone up to 42 million and as a result of it, now 1 in 8 are experiencing food scarcity.
Factors in Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is when a household has inadequate access to food and nutrition. There are a number of underlying factors such as employment, income, age, background, and disability.
It has been found that homes with children are more likely to live in food insecurity. Living in hunger has a direct effect on the overall health and well-being of a child. According to Health Affairs, malnutrition was “…associated with increased risks of some birth defects, anemia, lower nutrient intakes, cognitive problems, and aggression and anxiety.”
Hunger is also experienced in great proportion by racial and ethnic groups due to numerous factors, and a major one being systematic racism and discrimination. According to Feeding America, “While the overall poverty rate in 2019 was 10.5%, poverty among white individuals was 9.1% compared to 18.8% for Black individuals and 15.7% for Latino individuals.”
It was also found by NOCA that, “Millions of older Americans are at risk for hunger. In 2018, 7.3 million older Americans faced the threat of hunger, representing 10% of adults aged 60+ in the U.S.” It is clear that food insecurity is an issue that is impacting Americans from all backgrounds, and it is one that must be addressed directly.
How One Can Help
Many households that are experiencing food insecurity aren’t always eligible for federal nutrition programs and often turn to local community aids and organizations for support.
The Dream Center acknowledges this need and addresses it by distributing food to both individuals and families in over 20 local distribution centers. With the help of our members and volunteers every month, our food programs feed more than 20,000 people. Over the year, more than 500,000 bags of groceries are distributed.
“I have lived in the Pueblo Del Sol community for 17 years, and I am very grateful for all the services that have been available to me and my children through the Pueblo Del Sol Community Center. Being able to count on Dream Center Food Truck in the most difficult moments of my life has been a blessing from God. My life has gone through difficult times financially speaking and thanks to the Dream Center, I have been able to get help feeding my family.” – Veronica Valle | Pueblo Del Sol Food Truck Site
We have also created Adopt-A-Block to meet this need further. It was established in the year 2000, and more than 200,000 lives have been reached since then. Through our weekly outreach, our partners along with many volunteers and other organizations, we visit over 23 underserved neighborhoods with the goal of finding a need and fulfilling it. Not only does our outreach program include distributing food, we also distribute hygiene items and other essentials to families door-to-door.
Food insecurity affects people from all walks of life, and there are many underlying issues that must be addressed. By bringing these disparities to light and helping our community directly, we hope to create a stable and better future for everyone. No matter the situation, every person deserves food, dignity, and the necessities to live a healthy life.
If you would like to learn more about our efforts, you can visit our outreach programs here.