What Is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity is the inability to afford to buy food, not having sufficient amounts of food to last, or not being able to afford to eat balanced meals. Food insecurity disrupts one’s eating patterns and intake of food due to the lack of available resources.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are currently 870 million people in the United States who do not have a sufficient food supply, these numbers continue to be negatively impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Food Security Can Be Classified Into Four Levels:
How to Build a Food Pantry or Food Security Program
The first step in tackling the lack of access to food is to implement programs that can assist in the fight against food insecurity. Below are resources and manuals that can aid in process of beginning a food pantry or food security program.
Creating a food pantry or a food security program will ensure that all people have equal access to nutritious food that meet the best dietary standards for maintaining a healthy body.
Campus Food Pantry Toolkit
Food Pantry: How-To Manual
Partnering to Build a Pantry
Assessing Basic Needs
Running a Campus Pantry
Meal Sharing / Recovery Program
Prevalance of Food Insecurity
It is important to target communities in need and provide them with proper access to nutritious foods. According to the USDA, the lowest level of food security is highly prevalent in these households: Hispanic households (4.9%), women and men living alone (6.4%), Black non-Hispanic households (7.6%), single women with children (9.6%), and households with income below 185% of the poverty line (11.2%) (USDA).
The states with rates of food insecurity above the US average are: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana (USDA). These states require an increase in food pantries and food security programs to help address the increasingly high rates of food insecurity.
Food Insecurity's Impact on Daily Life
Food-insecure households are more at risk of developing negative health and education outcomes such as frequent sicknesses and lower reading and math achievement in children (USDA). Even later in life in an individual’s college career, these same food-insecure students continue to be affected by the lack of food in their household. Further impacting their educational performance in their college careers. Food insecure college students experience higher rates of depression, loneliness, and anxiety, making them more likely to withdraw from the university before earning a degree (USDA).
Transform Mid-Atlantic fully understands the importance of food security and its impact on the members of our community and organizations. We want to acknowledge the resources that can be used to create programs to address the rates of food insecurity and highlight the existing programs and pantries at many of our university and organization partners. With this being said, we hope to provide assistance and impactful information to those in need.
To find further information and background knowledge regarding food insecurity in families, college students, communities, and other related factors, check out the downloadable documents below.
Factors Related to Food Insecurity
Food & Housing Insecurities
Relationship Between Food Security & Housing
Hunger on Campus
Food Access / Security Study
SNAP for College Students
Hungry & Homeless
Food Pantries & Security Programs
In Collaboration with Transform Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA