Many individuals in our Lowcountry community find it difficult to build a better life when they are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The economic research report Household Food Security in the United States 2011 released this month indicates 14.9 percent of households were food insecure at some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security~meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. The prevalence rate of very low food security increased from 5.4 percent in 2010, returning to the level observed in 2008 and 2009.
How does hunger impact academic performance? A national survey from the nonprofit group Share Our Strength found that students who are hungry have lower academic performance and suffer from health issues and behavior problems. The fact is there are students who regularly go to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home. Check out this Hunger Fact Sheet. The hunger data clearly depicts that we have a generation at risk.
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 home bound 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.
Our citizens are 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.