Sweet Magnolia takes seriously the parable Jesus of Nazareth told about who will be included in the future kingdom of God. In the story, a king is separating his sheep from the goats. When the separation is made, the sheep wonder why they were chosen. Jesus replies that it is their acts of kindness to strangers that earned their place in the kingdom. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Jesus finished saying, “Then he will say to the `goats,’ depart from me; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”
At the heart of this parable to the problem of food insecurity. Many folks consider hunger at Thanksgiving but a problem this large requires a year-round commitment. As such, as a Church, we have partnered with the Statesboro Food Bank to lead, volunteer, and make a monthly contribution that results in more than a ton of food each year. Additionally, our members volunteer with Feeding Statesboro monthly with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation to provide a hot meal for those in need at Rebecca's Cafe. But during this month, we especially need your support.
In addition to raising funds to address the problem, throughout November we will raise awareness about food insecurity. This call to action is made with Feeding America, a 200 food bank network serving the entire U.S., including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. In 2020, Feeding America provided over 6 billion meals to our neighbors. Second Harvest Food Bank of Savannah is our regional affiliate of the Feeding America Network.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a household or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we can measure how many people cannot afford food.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 42 million people may experience food insecurity in 2021.
What causes food insecurity?
Unfortunately, many people in America struggle to meet their basic needs. Lay-offs at work, unexpected car maintenance, or an accident on the job can suddenly force a family to choose between buying food and paying bills. Working families across America face countless situations that can result in food insecurity and hunger.
That’s why many working families, including thousands of households who don’t qualify for federal assistance, visit food banks to help make ends meet.
What are the effects of food insecurity?
Food insecurity can have a wide impact, depending on each individual’s circumstances. Some of the most common, yet complex, effects of food insecurity include:
serious health complications, especially when people facing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food and medicine or medical care;
damage to a child’s ability to learn and grow; and
difficult decisions for seniors — often living on fixed incomes — such as choosing between paying for food and critical healthcare.
How can we end food insecurity?
Part of what makes food insecurity so difficult to solve is that the underlying causes — poverty, unemployment/under-employment, and inconsistent access to enough healthy food — are often deeply interconnected. Moving in and out of food insecurity simply adds more stress to a household that may already be wrestling with instability and unpredictability.
This Church aims to be a change agent working to end hunger in our community. In addition to feeding people who face hunger through collective action with the Statesboro Food Bank and Feeding Statesboro aka Rebecca's Cafe, we work to raise awareness about the issue and encourage our membership to advocate for policies to protect people in need.
...For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in
HUNGER HEALTH EQUITY
Food insecurity impacts every community in the U.S., yet the Black community experiences significantly higher rates of food insecurity and negative health outcomes compared to their white peers. This foundational issue brief developed by Feeding America’s Health Equity Action League (HEAL) describes food and health disparities within Black communities and offers suggestions on immediate actions individuals and organizations can take to advance health equity and ensure all have a fair opportunity to live long and healthy lives.