By Gabrielle. Photos by Kristen Loken for Design Mom. This post is brought to you by Outshine®.
[ UPDATE: You can watch my Facebook Live interview on this topic here. ]
Fact: 1 in 7 Americans struggles to get enough to eat. And further, food insecurity exists in virtually every community in the United States.
Reading about hunger statistics in America is always a punch to the gut. I live in California which grows 1/3 of America’s vegetables, and 2/3 of the country’s fruit, and sometimes, as I’m walking around the city, or running errands in the suburbs, I’m struck by the abundance I see. Farmer’s markets and grocery stores piled high with good, healthy food. All that abundance almost makes it hard to imagine that those hunger numbers are real. But they are indeed real.
And the profile of a family who struggles with hunger in America is different than what you might think. These are people who have jobs and are seeking education, but who also struggle with medical hardships and low-wages. They sometimes have to choose between buying food for their family and paying for transportation to get to their job, or choose between buying food and medicine. Sometimes they have to buy the cheapest, nutrition-lacking options, just to have enough food to feed their family (and that poor quality food can cause or exacerbate health problems.)
They are your neighbors. They are senior citizens in your community that you say hello to as you go about your day. They are kids at your school.
Summer is especially hard on kids in need (or kids who struggle with hunger), because without a regular school schedule, they don’t have access to daily school meals — free or reduced breakfasts or lunches. And there are issues of food deserts too — whole neighborhoods that don’t have real access to fresh, healthy produce.
In happier news, there are good people and good programs working to combat hunger in this country. Have you ever heard of Feeding America? Their nationwide network of food banks is leading the fight against hunger in communities nationwide. (You can learn more about hunger and Feeding America programs in this video.)
And this month, to support Feeding America programs, Outshine is donating 1 million pounds of fresh produce!
Today, I’m visiting the Outshine office in Berkeley and I’ll be interviewing a member of their team about this partnership. You can watch the video on the Design Mom Facebook page. We’ll be going live at 11:00 in the morning (that’s California time, or 2:00 PM on the East Coast). The interview will be live, but you can also view the recording after the fact on the same page. I hope you’ll come and join the conversation! [ UPDATE: You can watch the interview here. It was such a good conversation! Let me know if you get a chance to watch it. (And you can also get a glimpse of my hair which hasn’t been cut since the beginning of the summer. I’m dying for cut! My appointment is this Friday. Hah!) ]
Tell me, Friends, have you ever had the chance to learn about hunger in America? Do you feel like hunger is something you see in your community, or does it seem to be a hidden problem where you live?