Social media was abuzz yesterday with posts about the first day of school; excited parents posting pictures of their kids standing ready for the bus, and students expressing excitement or dread about the start of a new academic year. But one topic you likely won’t hear your friends talking about on social media is food insecurity, a rising concern for families struggling in the Great Recession, as well as schools.
In 2011, according to Feeding America, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.
And the numbers are rising. Between 2007 – 2011, the percentage of U.S. households with food-insecure children increased from 8.3 to 10 percent, according to a report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).
Feeding America also tells us that children from food insecure households– where parents struggle to meet basic food needs – are at a disadvantage in their academic development compared to other students, which ultimately makes it difficult for them to achieve the same level of development as their fellow food secure peers.
But here’s the good news: The Salvation Army is dedicated to helping families meet this basic need, and supporting healthy children in the classroom. One way we do this is through your donations to our food pantries, which provide groceries for individuals and families in need and are essential to battling food insecurity.
I’ve noted several news stories as of late about Salvation Army branches seeking food donations from their communities. At many locations, the pantry supply is running critically low, likely due to the time of year; people are enjoying the end of summer and gearing up for the busy months ahead rather than donating.
The Salvation Army Food Pantry in Panama City is just one example where food is in short supply. This location feeds up to 15 families daily through donations. If you live in Panama City, click here to learn how you can donate today. Your support is needed to ensure that our shelves are stocked so we can meet those needs.
To donate nonperishable foods to your local Salvation Army food pantry, check out our main website for a list of locations near you: www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Or, click here for other ways to show your support. In 2011 alone, we served almost 60 million meals to individuals and families in need.