St. Louis Hunger & OFS
Hunger is everywhere, and often affects more people in our community than one might expect. Food insecurity reaches beyond the homeless and beyond the soup-kitchen lines – it now even affects thousands who were recently living comfortably in the middle class.
These tough times with lay-offs, foreclosures, unexpected medical expenses and an uncertain economy have all created a greater need for Operation Food Search services.
Each month, Operation Food Search serves more than 200,000 individuals in the City of St. Louis and 31 Missouri and Illinois Counties through its network of community partners that include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, transitional homes, and schools.
The truth is that 1 in every 6 individuals lives in poverty and struggles with hunger in the greater St. Louis region, including more than 172,000 children. Right now, millions of Americans are at-risk for hunger. Often, they are hard-working adults and seniors who simply can’t make ends meet. On a daily basis, they are forced to choose between the daily necessities of life such as paying rent, having adequate health care, or buying food. For them, the thought of obtaining their next meal isn’t comforting but stressful.
What does it mean to be “food insecure?”
Food insecurity exists when people lack sustainable physical or economic access to enough safe, nutritious, and socially acceptable food for a healthy and productive life. Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal, or temporary.
The impact of hunger on children
A recent study conducted by the Food and Research Action Center (FRAC) revealed that nearly one in four of our nation’s households with children report and inability to afford enough food. As a state, Missouri is in the top 20 for food insecurity, with more than 354,520 children living in food insecure households. The statistics are staggering, but behind these facts and figures are children who should be enjoying their youth – not wondering if they will have enough food to grow and thrive.
Children who live with hunger are more likely to:
- Develop behavioral issues
- Have lower grades in school
- Require hospitalization more frequently
- Be at greater risk for chronic illness
The ripple effects of hunger
The personal cost of hunger to a child, or to families who can’t afford to feed their children, is tough for many to imagine. While the value of a meal to a hungry child is immeasurable, the fact is that when we pull together as a community to feed our neighbors, we directly contribute to the long-term health, vibrancy and economic stability of our community.
There are many ways you can help. Find out more by visiting How You Can Heal Hunger.