Since the onset of COVID-19, food insecurity has increased dramatically. The U.S. Food Security Scale states that one in five families with children under the age of six struggles to provide enough food to lead active, healthy lives and are food insecure. Currently, 64% of clients that receive food at Loaves & Fishes are families with children.
Nutrition is vital during this pandemic because it provides both physical and mental health benefits. Healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, fill the body with essential vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system and can reduce stress and anxiety. Early childhood health and proper development depend on a well-balanced nutritious diet. Research from Children’s HealthWatch has shown that young children, under age four in food-insecure households, are at increased risk for hospitalizations, developmental delays, iron deficiency, and poor health.
The concept of eating healthy may seem straightforward and attainable for most of us, but for a family who is financially struggling, or food insecure, it is a daily struggle. Unemployment or unexpected bills can force a family to choose between buying healthy food or inexpensive filler food. The increased financial, mental, and emotional toll this pandemic has had on our on low-income families has impacted the food they are feeding their families.
The good news is that many of us are working together to ensure children in our community have proper nutrition. You can help by participating in our Virtual Food Drive; if you need help, we’re here for you. Information on either can be found at www.loaves-fishes.org. Loaves & Fishes continues to make a difference by providing healthy food to our community so children can stay physically and mentally healthy. During these tough times – it’s never been more important.