What is Food Insecurity?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Extensive research has revealed that food insecurity is a complex problem. Food insecurity does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple overlapping issues such as lack of affordable housing, social isolation, chronic or acute health problems, high medical costs, and low wages. Together, these issues are important social determinants of health. Effective responses to food insecurity must address the overlapping challenges posed by the social determinants of health.
Who does Food Insecurity Affect?
Food insecurity exists in every community of the United States and can be experienced by anyone. Although there is no one face, some population groups have historically been more vulnerable to food insecurity than others.
Food Insecurity picture in DuPage County
Impact DuPage provides a community health dashboard where you can learn about your community’s health and wellness compared to state averages, county values, and target goals.
The Food Insecurity Index is a measure of food access correlated with economic and household hardship for each zip code in DuPage.
Social Determinants of health in DuPage
Additional Articles and Information
- The Illinois Commission to End Hunger: From food Insecurity to Food Equity: A Roadmap to end Hunger in Illinois https://static1.squarespace.com/static/603fc10fa2120f0be59e5d86/t/604693ade576e13daf9d9fcc/1615238085448/From+Recovery+to+Resilience.pdf
- The Food Insecurity Toolkit
- Estimates of Food Insecurity during the COVID 19 crisis:
- The Heartland Alliance Poverty Report: https://www.heartlandalliance.org/heartland-alliance-2020-poverty-report/
- USDA article: food Insecurity, Chronic Disease, and Health among Working-Age Adults: file:///H:/Food%20Security%20Initiatives/Articles%20&%20Diagrams/ERS%20Food%20Security%20and%20Chronic%20Disease.pdf
Ending Hunger at Loaves & Fishes
Check out how many of our neighbors we helped in this fiscal year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020).
Community Health Partners
Screen and Intervene Program
Loaves & Fishes is working with service organizations in our community to address food insecurity issues effectively and conveniently. The following information provides a brief description of the recommended protocol for our SCREEN AND INTERVENE community health partners.
- Use the Hunger Vital Sign to Identify Food Insecurity
The “Hunger Vital Sign” is a simplified, two-question screening tool that can be used by agency partners to identify households struggling with food insecurity. The screening questions are included below in both English and Spanish.
Screening Questions- Food Insecurity
- Invite the Client to Visit Loaves & Fishes
All households served by our community health partners are welcome to visit Loaves & Fishes at 1871 High Grove Lane in Naperville to pick up food during our grocery distribution hours.
3. Provide Groceries for your Client
Using a proxy form, agency representatives can provide pre-packed food boxes to clients with transportation barriers. Please contact Loaves & Fishes to arrange food pick-ups.
The inspiration for a community garden can come from so many places. Community gardens can be a great solution for transforming spaces or vacant lots into something much more appealing and productive. They often become a teaching tool for those who want to be more knowledgeable about growing organic foods and eating from the garden. They offer a comforting environment where you can find soothing calm. And, of course, gardens offer a beautiful illustration of community service and compassion along with their bounty.
The Loaves & Fishes Community Garden was inspired by a little bit of all of the above. Located in an unlikely place – the site of a once-thriving restaurant – volunteers across our community will work together this growing season to bring fresh organic produce to families with limited opportunity to purchase those foods on their own. Thanks to the contributions of many individuals over the first two years, our lot is very welcoming.
This year, Loaves & Fishes clients have been offered a community garden bed of their own to plant, maintain and harvest. Deana, one of our clients, is looking forward to adopting one of the garden beds. When I asked her why she was drawn to gardening, she told me about growing up in Puerto Rico, where her grandfather grew fruit trees and worked in farming communities. Gardening is difficult for someone living in a small apartment with a limited income. Deana’s goal is to adopt a healthy mindset, and the community garden provides a perfect opportunity to help her achieve this. She is eager to expand her own healthy eating efforts and share with friends and family the importance of eating nutritious foods.