The Socio-Economic Aspect of Joining a Food Pantry Program in Your Region and How It Can Save Lives
Food insecurity is a major threat in the current world with many people lacking access to a healthy life. The hidden numbers are aggravating with over 12% of population in US being food ensuring different times of the year.
Food insecurity experienced by people across the world is categorized with poor quality diets with others obese. Others are at a greater risk of contracting diet related chronic health conditions. This creates a trade off between people and medicine, healthy food and other essential needs. This makes the management of the chronic conditions further worse.
With a food pantry program, it plays a central role in the network of local, regional and national organizations which cooperate in addressing the needs of food insure regions across the country.
It is through the food pantries that they secure food donations from other food and grocery firms, individuals, government agencies and other related organizations. The food collected is further made available to the local charitable feeding programs.
This creates a network that operates like a warehouse with distribution centers. The pantries receive, sort, review the quality, store and distribute food to other agencies which offer the food directly to the food insecure people.
Food banks have been essentially used in providing food resources through a large scale, but food pantries operate on a low scale level while offering food directly to the insecure individuals in the communities.
Since food insecurity and health are related, many of the health care providers also screen patients for food insecurity while connecting the food insecure individuals to food resources through food pantries.
There has also been partnerships between health institutions and food pantries and banks. This caters for conducting of chronic disease screening which offers a valuable contribution to the community health. This is because many people rely on the emergency food while suffering from chronic diet-related conditions.
Challenges Faced by Food Pantry Programs in Provision of Healthier Foods
Both food pantries and banks are essential food sources in tackling food insecurity. However, they are not best sources of healthy food. This is because they receive donations of less healthier options.
The options are inclusive of canned and packaged food products with long shelf life for easier storage and distribution. To address the concerns of food insecurity while supporting the healthy living with diets to prevent rising cases of chronic diseases, there needs to be provision of healthier food options.
Many pantries suffer from poor infrastructure, lack of staff and shortages for chronic funding. This makes the process of delivering healthier foods to the masses difficult. There needs to be an establishment of nutrition standards as part of an effective strategy for improvement of nutritional quality of the food distributed.
The standards should focus on increasing the offering of healthy food options while eliminating unhealthy products. This is through distribution of a criteria for determining the products purchased by food banks and the donations received.