Children’s intellectual, emotional, and physical development depends on access to wholesome foods and good nutrition. A child or teenager who endures poor nutrition during their formative years develops lower vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic, and general knowledge. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables provides vital nutrients for children and their families. However, fresh food is notoriously out of reach for many families who are food insecure because it costs more, is quickly perishable and, especially in rural communities, is hard to find.
Fueling New Starts Many families are a car repair, a broken bone, or a lost job away from being food insecure. Unexpected expenses and the high cost of health care can be devastating to families already struggling. Many families try to make ends meet but because they bring in some income, they may not qualify for government programs. According to United Way’s 2018 ALICE report (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), an astonishing 29% of residents in our community (on top of the 13% in poverty) cannot afford a basic household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care. This is a downward spiral for not only working parents but the children they are supporting as well.