#SOLSC23: Food Insecurity

It was the 10th of the month and the shelves were bare much like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. But she was trying to find a bone for a dog and I’m talking about food shelves for people in the community. A food bank with empty shelves on the 10th of the month with three weeks yet to go in the month. 21 days of empty shelves.

How does the USDA define food insecurity?

“a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we measure how many people can’t afford food.

More than 34 million people, including 9 million children experience food insecurity in the United States.”


Where did food insecurity exist in Iowa in 2018?

305,100 people 9.7% of the population

These were the statistics in 2018 … pre-Covid when the average cost of a meal in Iowa was $2.79. The counties in darker green had more than 10% of the population that was food insecure. The data is not yet available for 2022. But we do know that 10,727 people are listed as dying from Covid in Iowa.

What are the food insecurity trends?

Food insecurity decreased when all students had free lunches across the state. Food insecurity decreased when food was available in the summer – often picked up at school. Food insecurity decreased because folks were worried about the health and welfare of children across the state. 80,160 children under 18 were food insecure in 2020. (source: https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2020/child/iowa)

What’s the current status?

122,000 children in Iowa are food insecure. The numbers are going the WRONG DIRECTION!

What can you do?

Take action:

Donate to the food banks

Encourage the legislators to take action (Use some of the $2 B state surplus)

Volunteer at the food bank

Ask community organizations what their plans are to help folks who are food insecure

Mahatma Gandhi:

““There’s enough on this planet for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.” “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” What is this? “Poverty is the worst form of violence.”

March 3, 2022 Quote Source
The Borgen Project has quotes on world hunger here.

There is enough food to feed the folks on the planet 1.5 times. So how can we ensure that food insecurity and hunger decreases? Check out this site for ideas.

I knew the facts in the opening paragraph. One simple statement about the 122,000 hungry children in Iowa sent me on this search and began this draft of a post.

What will I do? Find a local community group to support and continue the conversation. Our children cannot learn when they are hungry. What will you do?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily March forum. Check out the writers and readers here.


10 responses

  1. Thanks, Fran, for this thoughtful and important post. I do not know what the statistics in Pennsylvania are, but I wish the free breakfasts provided would be better than a sweet bun and milk. I know that many organizations such as H.A.T. packs help provide non-perishable good to families to fill the weekend hunger gaps. My Alpha Delta Kappa chapter supports many organizations like this one. We explore outer space and talk about sending rocketships to the moon, but still there are children who go to bed hungry everywhere on our planet. What’s wrong with this pjcture?

    1. Lynne,
      I hear you on the nutritional value but I also recognize that something is better than nothing!
      Our priorities as a a society are a mess!

  2. Fran, this is the way to make a difference directly in our communities. I love the Little Free Food Libraries that I see in our community, and they stay stocked fairly well because of our Family Connection director, who is certain to keep eyes on it. I like what you’re doing.

    1. So important to look for ways to help our neighbors!

  3. This hits home. I’ve had students who dreaded weekends, because they wouldn’t have enough food to eat. The elementary school where I started my career pushed our district to establish our breakfast program. Too many hungry students started the day at our school. Now we have a “backpack” program run through the YMCA. Any family can apply, and be given a bag of food for the weekends & holidays. Not as many take advantage of it as they should, but at least it is there.

    1. Hungry? Homeless? So many life-threatening issues!

  4. Kathy and I helped distribute at our local food bank and we saw the number of people increase. Many people don’t realize the need of local food banks. I am all for helping people around the world as need arises, but what about taking care of our own first.

    1. So many children in the US are hungry!
      So unfair!

  5. Thank you for the reminder to all of us to do what we can. I began to donate $$ during the Covid era and am amazed at the need in my local community. I worry that so much of what is distributed through my local food bank is highly processed and canned food and hope that they can begin to offer frozen and more fresh foods….there is a need

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