According to a 2019 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 37 million Americans struggle with hunger. More than 11 million children live in households where access to food is uncertain. This is not unique to particular areas of the country, or to rural, urban or suburban communities. Food insecurity crosses all strata of our society.
This has only increased during the time of pandemic. Record numbers of people are furloughed or unemployed. Local food banks are feeling the heat. Fortunately, many food banks around the U.S. belong to the Feeding America network, which improves their access to healthy, nourishing foods.
The Feeding America network is America’s largest food-relief program. The organization partners with individuals, charities, businesses, and governments to support food-relief around the country. Feeding America employs a four-pronged approach:
- Food recovery: Each year in the U.S., 72 billion pounds of food go to waste. Feeding America partners with food manufacturers, restaurants, grocery stores and farmers to recover these foods and distribute them to food banks.
- Providing access to nourishing foods: What we eat matters. Fresh foods are essential for optimum health. Feeding America’s “Produce Matchmaker” partners with farmers to expedite distribution of surplus produce to food banks. In addition, mobile food pantries serve hard-to-reach areas of the country. Finally, their Meal Connect program provides direct access between food businesses and the Feeding America network.
- Opening the door to healthy eating: Feeding America helps food pantries put healthy foods front and center. The organization empowers food banks to provide information about healthy food choices to its patrons, including hands-on demonstrations, cooking classes and taste-testing events. In addition, placing recipe cards in front of fresh produce can inspire patrons to make healthy choices.
- Educating the public about food insecurity: Feeding America advocates for programs that protect people facing hunger through a policy staff based in Washington, DC, and through the Hunger Action Center, a massive online grassroots advocacy center. The Hunger Action Center consists of an online community of more than 150,000 people who help the organization champion hunger-relief programs at the federal, state and local levels. In order to better understand food insecurity, the organization’s Map the Food Gap program conducts extensive research. This research guides their strategies for helping state and local food programs to serve their patrons most effectively.
From now through the end of March, a percentage of your Hugger Mugger purchases will go to support Feeding America. Please join us in supporting this organization’s vital work.