Food insecurity and charitable giving. In our bountiful, first-world country, food deserts abound and millions starve. Appalling! Fortunately, through charitable giving you and your company can help give them their just desserts. Sweet!
Exactly what is “food insecurity?”
According to hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.”
Their report also explains that “it is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.”
And what is a “food desert?”
Most of us probably wouldn’t know one if we saw it because we don’t know what to look for. This phrase was first coined in 1995 by the Scottish Nutrition Task Force and sadly it is increasing in familiarity.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a food desert “…refers to a geographic area that lacks sufficient access to grocery stores, especially in low-income communities…….Food deserts exist in every American state, in all types of communities. It estimated that roughly 23 million people lived in 6 529 food-desert communities.”
The USDA says they are particularly prevalent in densely populated urban areas, as well at the opposite end of the spectrum, sparsely populated rural areas. In both cases there is a higher level of poverty and the most easily accessible nutrition is fast food.
Hunger and COVID-19
Initially for millions of students, no school also meant no food. Mercifully the USDA stepped up. They report: “To slow the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), many schools have closed unexpectedly. To ensure that children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school are able to get the nutrition they need, USDA is working with states to continue providing meals to students. Usually, the rules require that children gather and eat their meals on site. However, due to the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency and the need for social distancing, USDA was able to make temporary changes so that meals may be taken home, and parents or guardians may pick meals for their children if the state allows.”
How hunger affects the brain
Chronic hunger results in emotional, social, and cognitive developmental delays.
When you’re hungry you can’t learn because you can’t concentrate. You can’t study carefully or productively. Reading, language, and problem-solving skills don’t develop. Just ask any hungry child.
When you’re hungry you don’t get enough vitamins. Chronic hunger can result in poor eyesight, a lower IQ, and permanent brain damage.
According to fillingtummies.com “Each year, as a result of vitamin A deficiency, more than 2 million children experience severe eyesight issues and some are permanently blinded….In the first two years of life, 70% of the brain develops. If a child experiences significant malnourishment, hunger and stress during that time frame, it’s likely their brain will be permanently damaged.”
In addition to the damage hunger can do to the brain, for parents with hungry children, it also has an emotional and psychological impact.
Again, Feeding America reports: “The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that mothers with school-aged children who face severe hunger are 56.2% more likely to have PTSD and 53.1% more likely to have severe depression. The inability to feed your loved ones can have traumatic effects on a person’s mental health.”
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, chronic hunger makes you more susceptible to raging diseases like the novel coronavirus.
Food insecurity and charitable giving
No doubt you’re feeling a ravenous hunger to help some of these poor starving people! Right? Well, you and your colleagues can become the cavalry that charges in and saves the day for many neighbors in your hometown!
Magnovo has a number of virtual charity workshops we’ll tailor to suit your tastes—pun intended. Your team can Donate a Dinner by dividing into small groups and competing for each item to be donated. The competition is not only friendly, it actually fosters closer bonds between coworkers who are working remotely.
Our virtual Puttin Pantry charity workshop combines the skills of miniature golf with team building exercises. At the end, the winners amass loads of canned fruits, veggies, non-perishables, bottled water, and juices to donate.
If you’d like to combine the two, our Charity Giving Stations will fit the bill perfectly. Your local food bank or other social service organization will undoubtedly thank you profusely for your donation and accommodate any special requests about how it is to be distributed.
With the holidays coming up, this would be a perfect way to bring cheer to some hungry families. Filling their bellies will surely warm your hearts and ours. Glad tidings to all!