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.
How did the WCFC get started?
For many years Chester County Cares operated a food cupboard for West Chester residents. Unfortunately Chester County Cares closed their doors in 2009. A dedicated group of volunteers banded together at that time to create and operate the West Chester Food Cupboard. In 2012 the West Chester Food Cupboard was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Who runs the WCFC?
The WCFC is 100% volunteer-run, with over 140 volunteers carrying out a myriad of tasks. The Cupboard is governed by a seven member Board of Directors and managed on a day-to-day basis by a team of twelve Lead Volunteers.
Whom does the WCFC serve?
The WCFC serves those whose incomes fall at or below 150% of poverty. For an individual, that means an annual income of less than $17,505; for a family of four it equals $35,775 a year. As a reference point, the median household income in Chester County is $85,000.
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.
How much food does the WCFC distribute?
The WCFC provides food to approximately 600 local households comprising 1,800-2,000 individuals each month.
Food Distributed Per Year (in lbs.)
How can I get involved?
The WCFC accepts donations of food, gift cards and money. Click here to learn how to get involved. If you are interested in volunteering please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org