I know what it means to be food-insecure (a phrase that means not having a reliable source of food). As a child in a single-parent household, I remember my mom going without so that her children could eat. I remember knowing that I should ask before grabbing a snack, because certain items were meant for certain meals and eating them would mean our family going without until payday (and maybe longer).
Two of my favorite photos from the first Snack Paks 4 Kids corn distribution event.
I know that my family and many others wouldn’t have survived without organizations like my church, which had a food pantry, or the Amarillo College Food Pantry, the High Plains Food Bank, Snack Pak 4 Kids, and a handful of others. We also depended on government-funded initiatives like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Women, Infants, and Children and the National School Lunch Program.
But I also know that for every person who each of these organizations and programs helped, there are still many more who are trying to survive in food-insecure homes.
I’m a senior journalism student at Texas Tech University. This spring, I get to choose one topic to focus on for the entire semester. I’ve chosen food insecurity.
I want to look into the reasons why more than 12 percent of American families still suffer from food insecurity. I want to look at the ways communities are tackling the problem and find out how, as a country, we’ve managed to bring the average down from close to 15 percent, but there are still pockets where it’s more than 20 percent and why, according to the most recent data available, it’s almost 50 percent among college students. I want to find and share the stories of the people who are helping, the people who are surviving and the obstacles we still face as a country.
I’ll share stories, reports, data and other things I find on this page. One of the first I’ve come across is an op-ed from a university president in California. It has lots of good information about the situation among his state’s college students.
At the end of the semester, I hope to also publish the work I’ve completed about our local issues. Here’s hoping my work will make a difference, too.