3 Ways To Combat Food Insecurity in the US

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                    When thinking of hunger and starvation, a picture of the commercials showcasing the children overseas who are meant to tug on your heartstrings comes to mind. Right? But how often do you consider your next-door neighbor? Or your kids' friend who maybe doesn't pack quite enough for himself at lunchtime? Food insecurity in the US is just as real as the beautiful souls you see on the tv.  It is hard thinking about this being an issue in our very own communities. You feel uncomfortable or even powerless in the face of this very real problem so close to home. Fortunately, there are very tangible ways you can help.

1. Get Involved Locally
Like Ralph Thurman, co-founder of The Giving Tree Foundation, find local organizations already doing the work and support them. His charitable foundation supports multiple endeavors in his home state of Pennsylvania. Here are just a few initiatives you can search for:

  • Soup kitchens
  • Food banks or pantries
  • Food rescues
  • Community gardens
  • School feeding programs
  • Mutual aid groups

Ask yourself, "How can I best aid the helpers?". There are many people in your community waiting for you to step up. Volunteer your time retrieving meals for a food rescue. Donate non-perishables, or even funds, to make sure these programs can continue to operate. An action, big or small, all works to further these organizations' endeavors.

2. Write Your Lawmakers
According to the USDA, 10.5 % of American families experience some type of food insecurity every day. That number is not evenly distributed across the country; minority communities are hit harder by this matter. There are systemic issues at work here that can be combated by proactive legislative expansions in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Even asking for national changes to the minimum wage to lift people out of poverty. Our lawmakers don't know what is important to the little guys if we do not tell them. Writing a letter might seem small and ineffectual, but it is a step in the right direction.

3.  Organize a Project Yourself
You may see an unmet need in your community. There isn't an organization serving a people group. Or maybe there is an organization that is trying but needs a little boost. Use the influence you wield to set up a food drive, create a community garden, or petition your city council to invest in urban agriculture initiatives. There is so much a single person can do with purpose and grit if you open your eyes to the possibilities.

You could say, "I am only one person; how do I make a worthwhile impact?" The answer is to just do it. Every little bit gets us closer to our goal of 100 % food security. Donate a few canned goods or donate thousands of dollars to a mutual aid network. Volunteer to retrieve meals for a food rescue or volunteer to cook at a soup kitchen. The point is, you see the need and you cannot ignore it. What will you do next?

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