Food insecurity occurs when a person or household has food today but does not know if there will be food tomorrow. Harvesters is a regional food bank based in Kansas City that serves a 26-county area in northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. Mitchell Capital partner Rich Jones has spent the better part of his career helping to further Harvesters mission: to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow.
It will likely be no surprise that COVID-19 and the economic effects of its spread have made the challenges of addressing and eliminating food insecurity from our community that much more difficult. Before COVID-19, food insecurity was at the lowest point since the 2008-09 recession. Consider the following pre-COVID-19 statistics for Harvesters service area.
- 303,820 people were food insecure and missing an estimated 51 million means annually. This equates to about 12% of the service area population or 1 of every 8.
- Approximately 93,000 of those are children.
Compare those to the following projections on food insecurity as the result of COVID-19.
- 435,000 people may be food insecure, some for the first time in their lives. This equates to 17% of the service area population and a 5% increase from before.
- 148,000 of those may be children. This equates to 24% of children under age 18, a 9% increase from before.
Harvesters is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks dedicated to the mission of ending hunger. September is Hunger Action Month, a time to educate about hunger and encourage volunteerism, advocacy, fundraising, and donation. It is also a time to educate our communities about food insecurity. Consider the following:
- 37 million people face food insecurity in the United States, more than the entire population of Canada.
- Most families served by food banks are not homeless and have at least one working adult.
- Food insecurity is found everywhere. The projected food insecurity for the three biggest counties in the KC-metro is 13% for Johnson Co, KS, 18% for Jackson, Co, MO, and 21% for Wyandotte Co, KS.
- 79% of the counties with the highest hunger rates in the U.S. are rural.
There are lots of ways you can help organizations like Harvesters and its partner agencies. Hold a food and fund drive at your workplace, neighborhood event or church. In a time of physical distancing, this is a great way to reestablish connections while helping others. Start a virtual food drive. Donate from your home pantry or offer garden produce. Give your time to help sort food, assisting at special events, or providing professional services. Or contribute money to a remarkably efficient organization ($100 helps provide 300 nutritious meals). You can find out more by going to www.harvesters.org.
We all deserve to live lives free of worry about the source of our next meal. Harvesters exists to help make that a reality for those who need help. Following Rich’s lead, Mitchell Capital has been giving time, talent, and treasure to Harvesters and you can join us with your support too.
Learn more at https://www.harvesters.org/coronavirus