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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Food Security Solutions

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Loaves & Fishes will reach a 35-year anniversary this year, offering a long history of supporting families in crisis. Loaves & Fishes connects families to SNAP & LIHEAP as a valuable prevention tactic to leverage limited funding for those in crisis or facing homelessness. Families in need of food are often experiencing complex and challenging circumstances that require support solutions from healthcare, housing, and employment to transportation, childcare and debt reduction. Connecting these families to federally funded programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is the first line of defense for a family who is struggling to survive.

These programs are now under fire, facing revisions which would reduce funding and availability of these valuable programs. If SNAP is weakened, many millions of older Americans, people with disabilities, children, veterans, and working parents will feel the consequences. There are over 64,000 persons in DuPage County receiving SNAP benefits. Unfortunately, the emergency food system is already overwhelmed, and would not be able to quickly make up the slack.

Hopefully, the DuPage Food Security Council can bring new solutions into view. The Food Security Council is a group of interested organizations and individuals who are working to improve access to healthy, affordable foods for all families and economic levels. They each hold a piece of the puzzle toward a strong food system even though the answers may be slow in coming.

The solutions that are taking root include growing our local agriculture, reducing waste in our food manufacturing and distribution, and educating all families on the value and health benefits of good foods. Federally-funded financial incentives to purchase fruits, vegetables, or other nutritious foods that boost the purchase power of SNAP are showing very positive results.

A strong food system builds food security, boosts health, and strengthens child development and learning. As we look for solutions to support our community, I hope everyone will bring their ideas to the table. I’m looking forward to the banquet.

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Jane Macdonald
Jane Macdonaldhttp://www.loaves-fishes.org/
Jane Macdonald is the Associate Director of Community Health at Loaves & Fishes Community Services. Contact her at jmacdonald@loaves-fishes.org or visit www.loaves-fishes.org.
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