As closures and social distancing orders meant to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) extend across the country, the impact is being felt in communities large and small.
While changes taking place are disrupting the lives of nearly everyone in some way, food-insecure individuals – who numbered over 37 million (11.5%), including over 11 million children, in 2018 – will face particular challenges, and the number of people who experience food insecurity is likely already increasing.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has increased in the United States. This is particularly true for households with young children.
High levels of food insecurity are not just a problem of households with children. Prior to the crisis, in 2018, 11.1 percent of households were food insecure.
The COVID Impact Survey and The Hamilton Project/Future of the Middle Class Initiative Survey of Mothers with Young Children asked questions taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food security questionnaire in late April 2020.
In the Survey of Mothers with Young Children, 17.4 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported that since the pandemic started, “the children in my household were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.” Of those mothers, 3.4 percent reported that it was often the case that their children were not eating enough due to a lack of resources since the coronavirus pandemic began.
In the wake of the pandemic, the number of children facing hunger may rise to 18 million, or 1 in 4 children overall.
With increasing changes to unemployment and poverty rates due to COVID-19 (two strong drivers of food insecurity) research shows how the number of people experiencing food insecurity could rise by 17.1 million.
But a new study led by University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers shows that children know more about food insecurity—the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food—than their parents give them credit for.
"The long-held assumption is that parents will do whatever it takes to protect their children from food insecurity," said Cindy Leung, lead researcher in the study scheduled for publication in the March issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Our study shows that children are not only aware that their family is food insecure, but they're also psychologically impacted by it."
The majority of research examining food insecurity in general and its effects on health outcomes has concentrated on children. This research has found that food insecurity is associated with increased risks of some birth defects, anemia, lower nutrient intakes, cognitive problems, and aggression and anxiety.
It is also associated with higher risks of being hospitalized and poorer general health and with having asthma, behavioral problems, depression, suicide ideation, and worse oral health.
Dixon Mason Group Charities, Inc., cares about families who suffer from food insecurity and overall well being. Recognizing this is an issue exacerbated by COVID-19, DMGC launched the Chew Mee Food Program to provide families with guidance, knowledge, and tools needed to empower themselves to provide reoccurring food for their families through sustainable, hydroponic gardening.
Plants and herbs were commonly used before western pharmaceuticals were introduced. Controlling the growth of your foods is equally important. Every home was accustomed to having their own garden to harvest food. Well, those days are back!
Sustainable hydroponic gardening allows food insecure families to grow more than 150 wellness promoting plants within the comfort of their home, patio or outside decking.
Reoccurring fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the cost, empowers families to feed themselves, thus assisting in eliminating food insecurities for families throughout the communities we serve.
Research shows that when kids grow fruits and vegetables, kids will eat them. Sustainable hydroponic gardens allow families to encourage healthy lifestyle habits while teaching them the STEM aspects of sustainable hydroponic growing.
With the increase of on line learning and COVID-19 at home studies, hydroponic gardening allows for children to eat, learn the science behind the growth process, and even learn entrepreneur skills to sell fruits and vegetables at farmer's markets. This 360 approach has proven to be an effective way to secure a future for families from food insecurity.
Our Community Cares program not only provides a reoccurring solution to the problem of food insecurity, but CHEWMEEFOODS everyone eats component also provide a STEM program and entrepreneurship component to families in our community.
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