What are Social Determinants of Health and How Does Food Insecurity Play a Role?

If you have read or researched anything in the healthcare space lately, you must have come across Social Determinants of Health. “But, what does it mean,” you might ask? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), social determinants of health is defined as “the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”

HHS goes on to explain that there are five main categories for these social determinants: economic stability, education access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context, and health care access and quality. Although all of the categories outlined above are critical, as a food rescue, Table to Table’s mission rests upon the access of fresh, nutritious food for all. And, we are unique because we deliver wholesome, free food to hundreds of diverse partner agencies who in many cases use the money saved–from not having to purchase food–to often create programs or provide an environment that supports social and community well-being through classes, events, adjunct support and more. So, essentially, Table to Table supports both food and community.

The Brookings Institute explains that, “when it comes to food, access, consumption, and quality are all closely related to life expectancy.” For example, a recent study published in Nutrition found that both increases in healthy food expenditure and decreases in unhealthy food expenditure were associated with increases in life expectancy.” Additionally, the lack of access to wholesome food and food security are also connected to diseases like diabetes, which disproportionately impact African American and Latino communities. Lastly, there is often a geographic component to food insecurity.

How Can You Take Action?

Table to Table invites you to join us in helping to feed people experiencing food scarcity in Northern New Jersey. Read on for some ideas.

  • Volunteer Some of Your Time

Table to Table is one of the most cost-effective organizations in the entire country because we rely on the generous time and services that we receive from our tireless volunteer network. If you have a special skill to offer or you’re simply interested in lending a hand, please complete our brief volunteer form.

Additionally, you can deliver food directly to individuals in Bergen County struggling with access to food via Table to Table’s app, I-Rescue. It matches smaller commercial food donors with our network of Table to Table volunteers who pick up and deliver fresh, wholesome food to community-based agency partners, who can then identify local families in the greatest need. To learn more, email Andrea Ibarra.

  • Donate Now

To help Table to Table in their mission to address food insecurity in Northern New Jersey, Donate Now!

  • Fundraise on your own, with classmates, colleagues or in your community

Table to Table’s Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch is a grassroots initiative that asks individuals, employees in businesses, and students in schools to donate what you’d spend on lunch for the day, week, month or more to help Table to Table fight hunger in our communities.

Individuals, employees at corporations and students in schools can energize their social networks to host a Bag a Lunch event. Fun competitions among different classes in schools or departments within a corporation, can inspire and engage participants.

Also, you can double your impact! For individual donations, the first $15,000 raised will be matched by a former Table to Table trustee! And for donations coming from school teams, any donations raised will be matched up to $30K. The school in Northern NJ that raises the most will receive The Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch Bernard and Geraldine Segal Foundation Award for Student Philanthropy, which will be promoted through social media and publicity. Hurry, the match deadline is December 3, 2021. To get started on your Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch event, register here, or contact Shahna Sherwood.

Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch is made possible by generous sponsors including: Presenting Sponsor: Inserra Supermarkets and Platinum Sponsor: Becton, Dickinson and Company. For a complete list of sponsors click here. If your organization would like to become a corporate partner, email Eda Tekeoglu. And, for more information on Table to Table, visit us at


April 29, 2024
Michael Joyce: April Volunteer of the Month

Join us in congratulating Michael Joyce, Table to Table’s April Volunteer of the Month. Michael has been volunteering with Table to Table...

Read More
April 16, 2024
Q & A With Julie Kinner

We sat down and had a conversation with Vice President of Operations Julie Kinner, who keeps our trucks on the road and...

Read More
April 15, 2024
Reducing Food Waste Everyday

Food Rescue Hero, the organization that powers our I-Rescue app, hosted an informative webinar about reducing food waste recently. Stephanie Miller, author...

Read More