Daniel’s Table: fighting food insecurity one city at a time

In Framingham, David Blais chatted with children who were waiting for grilled cheese sandwiches. // SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2014

In my search for information about food insecurity, I often come across the stories of people around the country who are doing their part to help more people have access to consistent, healthy food.

This short Q-and-A piece by the Boston Globe focuses on David Blaise, the owner of the Foodie Cafe in Framingham, Massachusetts, and the efforts he and his wife are making to fight food insecurity one town at a time.

In three years, they’ve gone from distributing 225 meals to 15,000 meals a month. That’s pretty awesome.

Fighting food insecurity: Examples of action

We’ve looked at the health and economical costs of hunger and we’ve looked at the numbers that tell us just how big the problem of food insecurity is. Now, let’s start looking at examples of efforts to solve the problem.

Canned vegetables line the shelves of food pantry at San Antonio Community College. KENS 5 Eyewitness News

In south Texas, ¬†students and staff at San Antonio College have launched a food pantry that’s part of their new ¬†Student Advocacy Center¬†(SAC). The food pantry came to fruition after staff members learned about a similar project in Amarillo at Amarillo College. Students can fill two bags with food, toiletries and many other things they’d find at a grocery store.

“Let us try and see if there’s not something we can bring to bear to keep you here,” said Lisa Black, SAC Co-creator and associate professor of social work at San Antonio College. “That gives people encouragement. It gives them hope that we can hang on to our students.”

How hungry is your neighborhood?

fruits-at-farmers-market

Individuals who suffer from food insecurity lack reliable access to nutritious and affordable food like fruits and vegetables.

Last week, I shared information about the health effects food insecurity has on children.

Now that we have an idea of why we need to work to fix the issue, I thought we could look at just how prevalent poverty and hunger are in our state.

Feeding Texas, the state food bank network which is a part of Feeding America, has created a map based on census data that shows levels of poverty and food insecurity throughout the state.

The Houston Food Bank has gone a bit further, mapping out the zip codes in the Houston metro area and providing information for each that looks like this:

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The Houston Food Bank has created an interactive map showing food insecurity data in 2016 for each of the zip codes in the Houston area. Boxes like this provide metrics for each zip code. Source: Houston Food Bank

The information on each map provides a clear picture of just how many Texans suffer from hunger and how the numbers vary (sometimes significantly) even between neighboring areas.