A full table.
What do those two words mean to you? For some people, those two words – FULL TABLE – invoke images of family and friends gathered around kitchen tables, picnic tables, and holiday tables. Sharing stories. Sharing moments. Sharing meals.
Still, for many, FULL TABLE, carries different sentiments entirely.
Worry. Concern. Even despair.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s most recent Household Food Security in the United States study released in 2017, 11.8 percent, roughly 15 million households, were food insecure. Food-insecure households, those with low and very low food security, had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.
Additionally, 4.5 percent of U.S. households, roughly 5.8 million households, had very low food security. In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.
Right now, in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Salem counties, our neighbors need $77 million in food annually to cover the meal gap. While the Food Bank of South Jersey provides food across these four local counties reaching a value of over $29 million annually, there is clearly still much work to be done to eradicate hunger – and put food on the table for our South Jersey family, friends and neighbors.
For South Jersey families living each day with food insecurity, there is no FULL TABLE.
A critical issue in our communities today, food insecurity has been defined as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns due to lack of money or other resources.
Imagine the disruption of the ability to have access to food.
The disruption of being able…to eat.
What if it were water…or air?
This is food insecurity.
Those who live in food insecure households know all too well – the emotional, as well as physical and psychological demands food insecurity places on a family. What does a food insecure home look like? How can you determine if food insecurity is something experienced by your friends, neighbors – even members of your extended family?
Food insecurity is not necessarily easy to spot.
Many times, you cannot see it at all…..
Some households may be food insecure at certain times of the year, due a variety of factors, such as seasonal employment schedules, while other households may be food insecure consistently, with families deploying coping strategies, such as eating less diverse diets and seeking sustainability with the help of food assistance programs. For very low food security households, the normal eating patterns are impossible. Some days, adults and children in low food security households simply do not eat.
September is Hunger Action Month.
During Hunger Action Month, we as a community should strive to recognize the food insecure households in our communities – those we see, and those we do not see – and join together in a mission to end hunger throughout our region.
At Food Bank of South Jersey, we are organizing events this month to take action against hunger.
· Dine Out for Hunger is a region-wide public awareness and fundraising campaign for Hunger Action Month. It unities restaurants, consumers and the FBSJ in an effort to highlight the global issue of hunger that affects our local community. Restaurants will donate at least 10 percent of proceeds to the Food Bank of South Jersey to feed children, families, seniors and veterans in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties. Learn More.
· Food Truck Friday is back! Come out Friday, Sept. 27 from 11 am to 2 pm and enjoy the best food trucks in the area! A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank of South Jersey to fight hunger in our community! Learn more.
· GIVE 40! All month long, we are raising funds in a campaign Give $40 to Feed 40,000 South Jersey Children. The goal is to help 40,000 food insecure South Jersey children go back to school with the nutrition and sustenance they need to concentrate on their busy school days – not on empty stomachs. Giving $40 to help 40,000 children in our region is a big mission for FBSJ during Hunger Action Month. Please help us help our region’s kids start the school year right. Donate to #Give40.
As a community, Hunger Action Month brings us an opportunity to contemplate what it must be like for our neighbors living with food insecurity – and how, as a community of caring, we can take action, together, to get involved in a deliberate hunger eradication effort to ensure that all members of our community – in all towns, all family sizes, all ages – have the opportunity to enjoy a meal at a table that is truly FULL…in every way.
Thank you for taking action!
Fred C. Wasiak
President & CEO