I had the opportunity yesterday to attend a meeting where we discussed elderly access to fresh produce. While I won’t, at this point, get into the purpose of this meeting, suffice it to say it could be a very exciting opportunity in the near future.
The subject matter triggered in me the thought of food insecurity in our nation. Granted, this is a subject I don’t dwell on often and, to be honest, don’t know as much about as I should, given my chosen profession.
Food in America is abundant. On the way home from yesterday’s meeting I stopped at Target where food was plentiful albeit quite a bit more expensive recently. I bought lemons and jelly beans without pause to those that may not be able to be it for financial reasons or availability.
According to Feeding America (American Hunger Statistics) 49 million Americans live in food insecure households, almost 16 million of those are children. Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. In my naiveté I find this number hard to comprehend. How is it possible that persons go to bed each night hungry in our nation?
Some of the answers are obvious and part of a greater problem – drug abuse, homelessness, mental illness – hunger is simply a symptom not the cause. But what about folks like Kevin Durant who cited hunger in his recent MVP acceptance speech?
He speaks of a courageous mother who would go to bed hungry in order to ensure her children had food. How many others are making this choice while raising children who will someday change the world? What is our duty as food manufacturers in this game? We all donate large amounts of food to many different charitable organizations, all of whom serve different parts of the need – homeless shelters, food banks, elderly care centers both within and outside of our communities.
With the amount of food waste in this country there must be some way help close this gap and I’m certain many good people are working to do so as we speak. How can we help and should we be doing more? A question I challenge each of us to answer in our own unique way. What can I do to make a difference today?
Food (if you will) for thought……