Food insecurity can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or place of residence. According to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap project, Richland County was 比特币交易app哪个好home to 19,290 food insecure people, equating to 15.8 percent of the local population in 2015.
Here's the introduction to the Hunger in the Heartland series, which gives readers a general understanding of food insecurity in Mansfield and Richland County and some of the work that's been done -- and in the process of being done -- to fight it.
Locals describe their struggles with food insecurity, and Reporter Emily Dech shares about her experience of receiving food from a local church.
Dale Wolf of Mansfield shared his story on why he enjoys volunteering at a local food pantry, where he also receives groceries for the week. Wolf started relying on the Grace Episcopal Church food pantry about six years ago to help ensure that he and his wife of 51 years, Marcia, don't go hungry. Read more
Mitigating the Issue
Many people are striving to tackle the issue of food insecurity, both locally and nationally. Click on the stories below to find out more and what potential solutions exist to this problem.
SNAP-Ed seeks to alleviate food insecurity -- the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food -- by providing nutrition, budgeting and healthy lifestyle education to low-income individuals. Classes are available through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and OSU Extension.
While it's a store's prerogative to offer whatever items it pleases, local residents may not have a choice when it comes to where they're getting their food, especially when they lack transportation. That's why health agencies are working with corner stores to increase healthy food offerings for local residents.
A micro-farm is being built in a parking lot on the west side of campus and will feature two high tunnels and 20 additional raised beds, which will be used to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for the campus cafeteria and at a reduced cost for north end Mansfield residents. The growing site is one-third of an acre.
Creating a welcoming atmosphere is one of the objectives of Matthew 25 Outreach Center's monthly produce distributions. It's through this amiable approach that volunteers are able to bridge connections with people in need, learning more about their lives and how they could potentially provide support through other means -- whether that's connecting them to valuable resources in the area or offering solace during a time of hardship.
The issue of food insecurity is gaining extra attention with the help of ideastream reporter/producer Darrielle Snipes, who is working on a piece on food insecurity, which will be featured in a week-long series that addresses a number of health-related issues.
Food pharmacies allow people access to healthy food options with a doctor's referral and could be a possible solution to supporting food insecure individuals in Richland County.
According to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, hunger is a symptom of another issue. The root of the problem varies from person to person, though according to the food bank, the three biggest drivers of food insecurity (the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food) are related to housing, employment and health care.
In order to reduce food insecurity -- the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food -- in Richland County it's going to take awareness and collaboration. One group that's trying to help raise awareness and build connections is First Call 211, which compiles a monthly free meal calendar and food pantry list.
Catholic Charities, in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and First Call 211, held a cooking and nutrition class in early May, during which attendees learned about meal planning on a budget and how to incorporate healthy foods into their diet without forsaking flavor in the process.
The Prospect Community Garden has proven to be a valuable resource for students attending the elementary school, as well as local residents who help out and receive produce from the garden.
Catholic Charities in Mansfield takes a holistic approach to serving its clients, many of whom utilize the organization's food pantry. This is Catholic Charities' way of helping give people a hand-up and not a handout.
The building at 359 W. 4th St. that housed E&B Market is undergoing renovation and will be 比特币交易app哪个好home to a grocery store once again. K.V. Market is expected to open by October of this year.
As one final piece in the series, we've compiled a list of just some of the ways you can help fight food insecurity.