Food insecurity is the lack of consistent access to enough food to meet the needs of all individuals within a household and can be divided into two categories.
The first is that of low food security. Families with low food security generally obtain enough food to avoid disrupting their eating patterns and rely on assistance programs and local pantries. The second is very low food security. In these households, normal eating patterns are often disrupted, with individuals having reduced food intake due to insufficient money or other resources.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, over 27.5 million households in the U.S were food insecure at some point in 2020. Of these households, 14.8% had children under the age of 18 under their roofs. Black and Hispanic households had significantly greater instances of very low food security. With the national average within this category being 3.9%, twice as many Black households reported having very low food security compared to other groups. This figure rounds up to a staggering 8%.
Food insecurity rates have remained unchanged from the 10.5% precedent in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced every sector of society to adapt, and this is very present overwhelmed public school system especially when it comes to providing school meals for children. With the shift to virtual learning, many households become ineligible for National School Lunch Program. This contributed to the burden of food insecurity for millions of Americans.
As the leaves change to vibrant reds and yellows and the sun begins to set in the late afternoon, there is but one reprieve on the minds of students and families across the United States: The coveted Thanksgiving break. As we dine and give thanks in remembrance of those we have lost and the immeasurable sacrifices that have been made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, let us not forget that the food which lines our tables might be one of the keys to creating a healthier and better future for our growing children.
Briana Dickerson, Uzima Health & Wellness Intern