Did you know that 1 in 10 households were food insecure in 2019? Last year, 9 million adults and 5.3 million children experienced food insecurity.
What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is closely related to other overlapping issues like low wages and lack of affordable housing. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, there are over 52,000 food insecure people in Ocean County.
How did COVID-19 Affect Food Insecurity?
According to Feeding America, the food insecurity rate in Ocean County is expected to jump from 9% in 2019 to 14.2% in 2020. High unemployment rates can increase the number of food insecure households and make it more difficult for families to meet needs.
What Aid is Available for Food Insecure Families?
In New Jersey there are a variety of options for food insecure families or individuals. NJ SNAP is the supplemental nutrition assistance program helping families get what they need to eat healthy. New Jersey also offers the WIC program, which focuses on food and nutrition education for women who are pregnant or have children under the age of five. There are also a variety of food banks throughout New Jersey available to families in need. Fulfill is a Ocean and Monmouth County food bank, but others can be found at HungerFreeNJ.org.
What Can I Do to Help Food Insecure Families?
There are many ways to help support food insecure families, right in Ocean County. The easiest way is to donate non-perishable food to local food banks, which some families rely on. You can reach out to the Ocean and Monmouth County food bank Fulfill, or research other places to donate at HungerFreeNJ.org. Another way to help at food banks is to volunteer your time to sort donations or serve food. Last is to help with meal or grocery delivery to seniors or families in need. Many seniors are unable to get to the grocery store, which means the need for home-delivered meals and groceries is growing. Local groups like Meals on Wheels can help too.
Food insecurity affects 1 in 10 households, but isn’t often well known by others in the community. By working together to make a strong and healthy community, we can transform the lives of children and families in need.