What happens when you simply cannot afford the rising cost of food?
According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) the cost of eating a meal at home went up 1.7% nationally from April 2013 to April 2014. When food costs rise, and budgets stay the same or decrease, there isn’t much room for individuals and families to have a healthy meal.
In 2013, FRAC calculated that 14.1% of all residents in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties (nearly 17% if the more affluent Bergen County is removed) have difficulty providing meals for their families. That’s nearly 400, 000 people in the counties Table to Table serves –as many people as the total population of Cape May, Hunterdon, Warren and Salem counties combined.
These statistics are not just about the cost. Understanding the elements of good nutrition is complex, so much so that there are thousands of blogs, magazines, TV shows and media dedicated solely to helping the most educated navigate making proper choices. You can see why many participants of feeding programs, who do not have the knowledge, time or money to prepare the healthiest items, are forced to make the choices they do.
And it’s not just the economics of providing a healthy meal that is of concern. Individuals and families who are not properly nourished suffer from the deterioration of neural function, lower verbal fluency, diminished problem solving skills and lack of motivation. Poor nutrition in infants has been linked to lower cognitive function and intelligence. When you are hungry you can’t develop, grow, learn, remain healthy or work productively.
When food prices rise and assistance programs are incapable of covering the cost, it creates a need for the community to step in and fill the gaps. No individual or family should have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. Especially when the solution is as simple as saving food that would otherwise be thrown away.
If you would like to learn more about the organizations Table to Table delivers to, visit our How We Help page. For information about what you can do, visit our Join The Fight page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Without you, we cannot address these vital issues nor can we continue to improve the health and well-being of our neighbors.