Monday, May 7, 2018

Food Insecurity: 20 Resources

According to one article "Family food insecurity in rural America (15 percent) exceeds that in cities (14.2 percent) and the suburbs (9.5 percent)."  And families with children have a food insecurity rate of 17%!  This means that there are a lot of people in our country who do not have stable, reliable access to food on a regular basis.  They may skip meals to save food or money, they may spend their limited funds on less nutritious food in order to stretch their food dollars, or they may shoplift to feed their kids, creating even more problems in their life.  

For people who have difficulty keeping food on the table, here are 20 resources to check into in order to ensure you and your family can get the food you need:
  1. Sign up for food stamps if you qualify.
  2. Hit up your local food pantry.
  3. Sign your kids up for free or reduced lunch at school (sometimes these schools also serve breakfast for free as well).
  4. Sign up for your local WIC program if you qualify.
  5. Forage for wild food.
  6. Go dumpster diving.
  7. See if there are active gleaning groups in your area.
  8. See if your kid's school offers summer feeding programs or weekend food programs which provide food for kids when they aren't in school.
  9. Grow your own food in a small garden (get free seeds here).
  10. College students should check and see if their university offers a free food program for students.
  11. Take a job that provides a free meal (many restaurant jobs give workers a free meal when they work, nearly all casinos in Las Vegas provide free meals for all employees when they work, etc).
  12. Barter for food.  People can offer to do a bit of work for local farmers in trade for food, trade window washing at a restaurant for a meal, etc.
  13. Go fishing/hunting/shell fishing for meat for the freezer.  Be sure you have the correct license/permit to do this.
  14. Check out the numerous websites that list food freebies.
  15. Develop ninja-level grocery shopping skills (shop the dollar store, grocery store loss leaders, use coupons, etc).
  16. Attend community events/school events/volunteer events where free food is offered (many of the meetings I used to attend had free snacks, some people crash weddings for the food, people who volunteer at our local homeless hot meal program get a free meal for helping out, etc).
  17. For seniors, check to see if there is a CSFP or other free meal programs in your community.
  18. Learn to cook from scratch, this can save a lot of money over eating out and the food is often healthier.
  19. Use the power of the internet for frugal eating advice, free food, and other frugal food help.
  20. Call 211 to find out about other food programs specific to your area (this number can also direct you to all other assistance programs in your community as well).

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