Food Insecurity

Many individuals in our Lowcountry community find it difficult to build a better life when they are struggling to feed themselves and their families. Families in crisis and the elderly are increasingly dealing with hunger as fact of life. A CNN documentary series Witnesses to Hunger indicates that the “scientific term for hunger is ‘food insecurity’ and since the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) began keeping track in the mid-1990s, it has now reached an all-time high.”   In fact, the economic research report Household Food Security in the United States 2011 released this month indicates that 14.5% of U.S. households experienced food insecurity, approximately the same number as 2009. While food insecurity among households with children dropped slightly, households with children under the age of six are still most affected by food insecurity, with nearly one quarter (23.6%) of children living in households at risk for hunger. Several United Way of the Lowcountry partner agencies are committed to delivering programs and services that work to reduce the number of food insecure households in our area.  Healthy well-balanced daily meals lend to reducing the number of overweight/obese residents in Beaufort while at the same time reducing incidents associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. HELP Mobile Meals ensures that individuals have the food they need to remain healthy, independent and productive citizens. The Meals on Wheels of the Jasper County Council on Aging program serves over 100 meals, five days a week, 250 days a year.  They ensure that homebound individuals aged 60 and above receive adequate nutrition. Over 20,000 meals are served in the Hilton Head and Bluffton markets to those unable to provide a meal for themselves.  Meals on Wheels in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island sees the delivery of a mid-day meal as a nutritional necessity where it might not otherwise exist.  2,200,000 pounds of food gets distributed to hungry families in Beaufort and Jasper counties, reaching 10,000 children each week by Second Helpings who knows the collection and distribution of surplus food makes a difference in the overall well-being of children.  Food insecurity among the elderly is troublesome because medical conditions may require special diets and other mitigating factors may lead to poor nutrition in Beaufort’s elderly population.  Senior Services fills the gap of a rapidly expanding aging population with no familial or community support to deliver proper nutrition. The economic downturn has many of our citizens turning to local food programs as a primary source of food~families, children and senior citizens. As food needs increase, hunger relief programs are struggling to meet the demand.

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