Food insecurity: a situation in which an individual is unsure about where their next meal will come from.
I’ve recently read several articles and watched a few documentaries of food insecurtiy in the US. We talked about it a lot in my community nutrition classes in undergrad as well. While reading about this issue, I have a hard time fathoming what it would be like to have to live this way everyday. Growing up we always had something to eat. We were by no means wealthy, but always had something available even if it was the cheapest thing my parents could throw together. I know it was difficult for my family to deal with our finances as it was, but I cannot imagine what it must be like for the parents and children who are food insecure.
When thinking about people who do not have enough food to feed their families, what picture typically pops into your mind? A starving child in Africa? A homeless person digging through a trash can?
What about a 500 pound man, his 400 pound wife, and their 150 pound third grade child?
When we think about families like the example above, we typically think of overindulgence, lack of self control, and a house full of food at their disposal. In all reality, this is usually not the case. Families like this are typically among the food insecure as well. The difference is when they can afford food, they load up on the junk that is cheap and makes them feel good after they have gone through periods of hunger. When they finally have food in their pantry, they want to eat it all as fast as they can for fear that they may not be able to get more.
So unfortunately when it comes to food insecurity, we find two extremes: starvation and obesity. While both of these conditions look drastically different, they come from the same source.
So what can we do?
Often I find myself hopeless when I think of what in the world I can to do help these people. I’m just a dietetic intern working 50 hours a week for free. I have no political pull whatsoever, nor do I have the political knowledge to go about doing something on that level. But there is so much I and others can do. First off, pray. Prayer is so powerful and we often forget this because we typically don’t see immediate results. Don’t let this discourage you. Be patient.
Next we can volunteer. I know many of us don’t have much time, but a couple hours a month really isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. This is a conviction I have myself. If I can make time to go to a movie, I can make time to help someone in need.
Little steps make a BIG difference.
What little steps will you try to make?