What Does Food Insecurity Look Like?

Food insecurity might not look the way you imagine it. Many families with loving parents or guardians in full- time employment are one unexpected expense away from being unable to put food on the table. That inability is described as food insecurity.

Maybe when you think of hunger (which is directly related to food insecurity) you imagine a thin child in old, torn clothing, with unemployed parents, living in a dilapidated house.

That’s just not the case for the children Agape Meals for Kids is helping. Food insecurity and childhood hunger can look exactly like any child around you—not visible, and yet entirely and tragically real.

The number of people in poverty keeps going up as the cost of living increases, but incomes either stay the same or drop. Then we add in the impact from COVID. maybe an income earner has gotten sick, and can’t work anymore. Or they’ve lost their job, passed away. Families must weigh up the mountains of bills on the dining table and prioritize where the money will go.

Between rent, electricity, gas, phone, and food, many families have to pick one or two places to spend some money. Chances are, money for food keeps shrinking.

Children who aren’t getting enough to eat will not, in most cases, look ‘poor’. Their parents have jobs and drive a car. The children are great students and loyal friends. They and their families are being adversely affected by many prevalent overlapping issues in today’s society: low wages, inaccessible or high-priced basic medical care, systemic racism, and expensive housing.

Food insecurity and childhood hunger can happen to the majority of families in America. Most of our ideas about poverty and hunger are either out-of-date or have always been inaccurate.

In fact, at the start of 2022, 64% of the United States population was living paycheck to paycheck. So, for more than half of American workers missing one paycheck can be catastrophic and will lead to financial hardship and inability to feed their families. Research from the Federal Reserve found that 4 in 10 Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency and would be unable to cover basic living expenses including providing food for their children.

With kindness and generosity from many caring souls, Agape Meals for Kids helps to address the incredible rise of food insecurity among families here on Long Island.