Food insecurity is a lack of consistent access to enough safe, nutritious and socially acceptable food for an active, healthy and productive life. It can be cyclical, or episodic–associated with a crisis like COVID-19.
Prior to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, almost 100,000 of our Big Bend neighbors, including families, children and seniors, experienced hunger on a regular basis. Today, 150,000 people--almost 30% of the Big Bend population--are seeking food assistance.
The Big Bend and the nation are experiencing episodic hunger at an unprecedented rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of our neighbors have lost their jobs, and are lacking financial resources for basic necessities including food. Children are out of school for an extended period, without access to school-provided meals.
During this stressful and uncertain time, Second Harvest of the Big Bend–our employees, agency partners and volunteers–are considered “essential employees” under the Governor’s Executive Order issued on March 1, 2020. We will continue working to provide healthy and nutritious food to our neighbors through our regular network of 135 agency partners and their pantries, and through mobile food distribution events.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 150,000 of our neighbors, including families, children and seniors, are experiencing hunger on a regular basis.
Many factors contribute to food insecurity. Rural communities are particularly at risk for food insecurity, which further impacts our region. Today, millions of “working poor” families live paycheck-to-paycheck, and just one unexpected expense or missed paycheck can force them to make hard choices about paying for necessities such as food, housing, utilities, transportation and medication. Working poor families do not qualify for federal nutrition assistance and depend on Second Harvest and our partners to help make ends meet during difficult times.
- Food Insecurity is associated with higher probability of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease and kidney disease
Hunger can harm a child’s opportunities to reach their full potential and contribute fully to their communities—which affects society.
Children from food-insecure homes may be more likely to:
- Have lower math scores
- Repeat a grade in elementary school
- Experience developmental impairments in areas like language and motor skills
- Have more social and behavioral problems
- Be less prepared for the workforce as adults
Seniors who are food-insecure have:
- Higher rates of chronic diseases
- Poorer general health
- Three times higher prevalence of depression
- Diminished capacity to maintain independence while aging