While many of us fret over how to fund our wants, too many struggle to merely meet their needs. For more than 1 in 10 Pennsylvanians, that includes worrying over how to feed themselves or their families.
More than 1.35 million in the state – 10.5% of the population – are food insecure, Pennsylvania’s ratio parallels the problem nationwide; 35.2 million Americans, or 10.7% of us, are either hungry or lack a reliable food source.
“When we suffer from food insecurity, that insecurity spreads to virtually all areas of our lives.” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, chief medical officer at Capital Blue Cross. “It harms our physical health, because when we’re food insecure we tend to buy low-cost/low nutritional-value foods that can lead over time to a variety of physical problems.
“It harms our mental health, because it often causes high levels of stress and anxiety, and possibly depression. It can even harm our financial health, because we need regular, healthy meals to perform at our best levels and remain productive.”
Costs connected to hunger and food insecurity in the United States total $130 billion a year, or $542 per U.S. citizen, reports the Center for American Progress. Of that, $19.2 billion takes the form of lower lifetime earnings that stem from childhood hunger, a crisis in itself that .
And according to the Children’s HealthWatch Report funded by Feeding America, workers who suffered hunger as children create a less-competitive, less-educated workforce. Child hunger also increases employee absenteeism and workforce turnover.
In both the state and nation, roughly
organizations that are working to solve hunger in our region.”