November is here and soon we will embark upon a 6-week venture thorough the holidays of friends, family, parties, and an excessive amount of food. Food is closely tied to almost everything we do these days. The fitness industry counts on use over eating during this time.
However, there is a large segment of our population that goes hungry – daily. Here are some disconcerting figures about Hunger in the Peoria area from the Peoria Area Food bank:
- 90 percent of individuals served in the Peoria Area Food Bank service area are “food insecure,” meaning they lack regular access to safe and nutritious food
- 32 percent of the members of households served by Peoria Area Food Bank are children under the age of 18 years old
- 90 percent of individuals served by Peoria Area Food Bank have a high school diploma or higher education
- 87 percent of individuals served by Peoria Area Food Bank report purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they know it’s not the healthiest option
Hunger affects people we see daily. Some are recognizable, most are not. We once considered those who earned low wages as individuals most likely to suffer from hunger but that has changed over the years and now affects people from all walks of life.
As it relates to children, the Peoria Area Food Bank states:
- Research shows that children who experience hunger face significant stress and challenges that can have a lasting effect on their physical, cognitive and behavioral development.
- Hunger affects a child’s ability to learn and perform well at school. Children who experience hunger come to school ill-prepared to learn, are more likely to have trouble focusing in class, and may struggle with complex social interactions and adapt less effectively to environmental stress.
- Children who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches are at even greater risk of hunger during evenings, weekends, extended school breaks and other times when school is out. For many, the meals they receive in school are the only regular meals they can count on receiving.
We have a number of resources available to us to help curb the problem of hunger, many of which are close to or in our neighborhood. Here’s a quick list of Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens close to us: WestMark Food Pantry, Sophia’s Kitchen, Salvation Army, Bread of Life Food Pantry, Southside Mission and many larger institutions including Peoria Area Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, Heart of Illinois Harvest.
Take a moment, not only this holiday but every day, to consider helping those who are hungry – through donations of food, money or time. Make a difference in the lives of those who need help.