The Problem of Food Insecurity

Alice is a single mother. She depends on the assistance of family members or neighbors to help her take care of her three small children. Times become difficult during the summer, when the children no longer receive free lunches at school. Then Alice must skip meals and serve very small portions to feed her family. She waters down the soup and serves cereal or ramen noodles for dinner to save money.

Since losing his job, Bill has sold or pawned furniture and other possessions to buy food. When he falls sick, he does not fill prescriptions or he cuts back on medication because of the cost. At the end of the month, he cannot pay the bills, so he goes dumpster diving to find leftovers.

Alice and Bill represent 1 in 6 people in the United States, who struggle to get enough to eat.

Food insecurity exists in every community in our country, even here in Chester County, the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania.

Why do people come to the WCFC?

People come to WCFC for many reasons. They’ve lost a job or their home. They’ve suffered a recent divorce or a decline in health. They’re unemployed veterans. They subsist on low fixed incomes. They work at minimum wage jobs. All have to make difficult decisions on how to spend their money each month – buy medications, pay the rent, take care of utility bills, buy food, etc. – and often food is at the bottom of the list.

Why is food insecurity important?

Food insecurity has numerous health repercussions. Lacking the right kinds of food can affect a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement, and future economic prosperity. It can cause the elderly to struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, and depression. Food insecurity is also closely associated with obesity because more nutritious food often costs more. Simple carbs and starches, which can be fattening, are much cheaper than fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains.