I won’t lie, I take food for granted, especially over the holidays. I expect to eat heartedly; when I’m full, I leave food on my plate. That’s my attitude every day. And that’s crazy because I remember a time, back when I started freelancing, that I didn’t have enough money for food. I ate Little Debbie Snacks cakes for dinner. 50 Cents got me 1 oatmeal crème pie; a dollar got me 2.
But it was my choice to freelance and struggle to earn a living. A lot of folks don’t a choice. Not only do they not know where their next meal is coming from, they don’t know how to pay for the food when it does come. They can be described as food insecure.
I spoke with Steve Corona, Community Harvest Food Bank’s Development Officer and Grant Writer, about this. He spoke about the disappearing middle class. “More people are living paycheck to paycheck. Many times the people we see are people doing the right things in life. Then something happens: a medical issue in the family, their car tires blow out, the refrigerator breaks. All of a sudden, a significant bill disrupts their ability to play everything.”
Steve dropped a stat in a conversation. 1 in 7 Americans are food insecure. But Community Harvest did their own study; they concluded that 1 in 7.5 local Hoosiers are food insecure. According to Steve, that’s an estimated 90,000 Hoosiers spread across the 9 county area of around 630,000. That’s not a special holiday stat. 1 in 7.5 local Hoosiers (Waynedale residents included) are food insecure every day.
I’m not food insecure but I could be, and was at one point in my life (although I didn’t know it). But what if I was today right now insecure about how to procure a meal. What if the usual resources I have in place (my mom, my girlfriend) could not help me? What would I do?
I would start going to the Community Harvest. Their Community Cupboard is an on-site grocery. I’d have to get a voucher from one of Community Harvest’s agency, like a church. But I can only get as much food as the voucher allows me. $19 would get me a 100 pounds of food, which I could probably live on for a couple of weeks.
But I’m not a family of five.
For a variety of food, for more fruits and vegetables, they’d have to go to Community Harvest’s Farm Wagon once a week. But those deliveries could be cancelled due to weather. Then there’s Community Harvest’s Helping Hands program on Saturday at the food bank. But Saturdays are for whatever CHFB has left at the end of the week. “To get a nutritionally balanced meal, you’re going to have to work for it,” explained Steve.
There’s also the option of going to one of Community Harvest’s agencies, who run their own food panties with donations from the food bank. The Waynedale area has 3. Waynedale United Methodist Church (Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.), St. Therese (Thursdays, 10 a.m. to Noon) and Avalon Missionary Church (Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.).
If I was in need, my community could feed me. A family of any size would struggle. So please consider donating food or money to your local food bank, pantry or soup kitchen to help those in need through the holidays.
For entire list services, schedules and agencies of Community Harvest Food Bank, visit their site: communityharvest.org. Or call 260.447.3696.