Nearly 11% of of all American households are classified as food insecure. The USDA defines food insecurity as an economic and social condition causing limited or uncertain access to adequate food.
Coming from a low-income household is not the only indicator of food insecurity. Food deserts – areas that do not have grocery stores that stock affordable and healthy food items – are relatively common in low-income neighborhoods where many residents do not have a means of transportation to the next closest store carrying these essential nutrients.
Poor nutrition decreases a student’s ability to succeed in the classroom, further widening the education achievement gap. Food insecurity makes it more difficult for children to concentrate in school, causing them to have lower math and reading scores, and making them more likely to have to repeat a grade.
The United States government has several programs, including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but these benefits are not always available and may not adequately address the needs of qualifying families. Children with access to SNAP and the EITC also fare better in adulthood.
Children receiving SNAP are more likely to finish high school and less likely to experience obesity, stunted growth or heart disease as adults. Moreover, children in families benefiting from the EITC have higher scores on standardized tests, are more likely to go on to college, and statistically have higher earnings as adults.
The St. Jude League Community Development addresses the nutritional needs of the communities they serve in schools, migrant camps, and health clinics. Campesino Outreach serves eight migrant camps across Fresno County in California and ensures that the agricultural workers in these camps have enough food year-round to sustain themselves. And the Claret Center in Chicago provides psychological therapy and counseling by licensed and experienced professionals to those in need.
Your donation to St. Jude League Community Development will support these programs that ensure our communities continue to have their nutritional needs met.
To learn more about the work that St. Jude League Community Development is doing, please visit our Programs page or lend your support and help to eliminate poor nutrition in at-risk neighborhoods and build healthy communities.