Holidays and Food Insecurity

By Bekah Clawson, President & CEO

Household confidence in affording food over the holidays

For many of us this season is a joyful time with holiday parties and family time mostly centered around good food and gifts. Yet for many others, low incomes and food insecurity make this a much less festive time. The financial burden of feeding children home for Christmas break and expectations of holiday gift-giving have ripple effects on what families can afford to eat and often influence both immediate and long-term health. Looking ahead to the next several weeks, 15% of households with children nationwide are “not very confident” they will be able to afford needed food. 9% percent said they are “not at all confident.” Additionally, food insecurity often worsens for families during the holidays due to the closure of schools.

Seniors are another demographic group that is at higher risk for food insecurity.  Feeding America found that 60% of seniors choose between buying food or paying their utility bills, a decision that gets even harder during the cold holiday months. With the high cost of medication coupled with hurdles associated with traveling to a food pantry, such as mobility issues or lack of access to transportation, low-income seniors face several challenges that may impact their ability to access meals and maintain their health.

At Second Harvest, we work to bridge the gap and shorten the line of need by helping those who face hunger, all year round. Though food insecurity may be more prevalent around the holiday season, it is more than a seasonal issue. Second Harvest provides tailgate distributions in county seats, small community distributions, and van distributions that target low-income neighborhoods with high need. With the help of our partner agencies, each of the eight counties we serve offer multiple places and ways to access extra food that our food-insecure neighbors may need this winter.

The holiday season is a time for us to reflect, practice gratitude, and find opportunities to be generous. From making a donation to volunteering with local hunger relief organizations, such as Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana in Muncie, there are plenty of ways for you to give back. You can always make a monetary donation to a hunger relief organization like Second Harvest, volunteer at a large distribution, commit to volunteering at a local school Big Idea distribution, or schedule a trip to our warehouse to help with preparation for a delivery to one of our Senior Safety Net sites or Operation Full Pack partners.

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If you are already involved in donating or volunteering, we want to thank you for your generosity and commitment.  With your help, not only in the holiday season but throughout the year, we hope to continue to serve those facing food insecurity. Why not find a way to help eradicate food insecurity today to keep the holiday spirit going all year long!

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