Food Insecurity defined: Food insecurity is the most broadly used measure of food deprivation in the United States. The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”
Some fast facts about food insecurity:
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) average monthly benefit per person (FY 2012): $138.60
WHY NOW? WELL, GREAT QUESTION. In the recent months, the issue of food insecurity has become somewhat ubiquitous. I hear about it everywhere, the issue of national hunger has seamlessly presented itself to me through numerous local and global outlets over the past few months:
1. M2M Hunger 5K: November 9th. Proceeds benefit Matthew 25: Ministries’ work with the poorest of the poor in Greater Cincinnati, throughout the U.S., and around the world. The race also kicks off the Fighting Hunger Food Drive, which raises food products for local pantries and shelters.
2. Jewish Family Service (JFS): JJ’s dad was honored a few months ago at Cincinnati Jewish Family Service’s Annual Meeting. His family is actively involved in the JFS Food Pantry which is the source for free kosher food, fresh produce, personal care, and household care items for individuals in the Greater Cincinnati Jewish community experiencing financial difficulties. In addition, JFS provides coaching and support for clients of the pantry to help improve their situation. The Executive Director, Beth Schwartz, and her daughter chronicled their week as they sought to take on the “Food Stamp Challenge.” You can read her blog here: Food Stamp Challenge 2011.
3. Yom Kippur: For those of you that don’t know, this past weekend was Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the culmination of the “Days of Awe” in which Jews across the world celebrate the Jewish New Year (Happy 5774) and atone for our sins. One of the requisite aspects of the holiday, is the ritual fast (we refrain from eating or drinking of any kind) for 25 long and grueling hours. I am fortunate enough to know nothing of hunger insecurity in my own life, but the fast does shed some light on the issue of world hunger. This past Saturday, I attended Yom Kippur services at Plum Street Temple in downtown Cincinnati. During his sermon, Rabbi Lewis Kamrass pleaded with us to facilitate discussion and action surrounding hunger insecurity within our community.
WHAT NOW? MY INTENTION IS TO FIGHTE HUNGER INSECURITY PERSONALLY, WHILE DRAWING GREATER ATTENTION TO THE ISSUE IN MY COMMUNITY AND ELSEWHERE.
COOL TRACE, BUT HOW THE HECK DO YOU PLAN TO DO THAT?
1. Couch to 5K: JJ and I plan to run on November 9th in support of the wonderful cause. itelligence Inc. will be compiling a team for the event and I am on the committee. Week 1/8 of our training program is complete (and my legs are already not happy with me). I will be “hosting” group runs in which other beginner-level runners can join me on my quest for fitness and awareness! itelligence will also be hosting a canned food drive in the week’s leading up to the race!
2. SNAP (Food Stamp Challenge) 2013: I plan to take the challenge for a week and chronicle my daily food intake/challenges/thoughts on the blog. I will be donating the money that I usually spend on dining out and eating in to JFS, M25M and Plum Street Temple’s Fighting Hunger Initiative. The SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of the struggle to obtain adequate food that is faced by millions of low-income Americans. By living on the average food stamp benefit, Challenge participants find themselves forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and learn how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy without adequate resources. While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide a new perspective and greater understanding. For more information please visit: FRAC 101: Food SNAP Challenge Toolkit
Life’s not all about mixing business with pleasure. It’s also about fostering meaningful and lasting relationships, showing compassion and working for the greater good. I invite each of you to join me on this journey over the next 2.5 months and to challenge yourselves and those around you along the way.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT.
Peace. Love. Cheeseburgers,