Ensuring the Poor Have Access to Healthy Food
The link between what people eat, wealth and health is becoming increasingly obvious in America and Orlando today. Clearly what we have here is a crisis that continues to rapidly escalate by the day.
The situation is made worse by the fact that it is becoming more difficult for a growing number of disadvantaged Americans to access healthy and nutritious food. One of the many reasons is that traditional grocery stores are gradually vanishing from poor neighborhoods leaving folks to rely on the available cheap junk food mainly from fast food restaurants. This food is more often than not high-calorie processed food.
That is why it is hardly surprising that the U.S, surgeon general warned only recently that the nation must turn serious attention to combating its’ food and health crisis.
Even the cold statistics are now beginning to draw attention to this harsh reality. The Alliance to End Hunger estimates that poor Americans in this vulnerable group are almost three times more likely to end up with serious chronic illness. They are also twice as likely to be obese as a direct result of their poor diet.
Other figures from Hunger in America show that a staggering 23 per cent of the recipients of food bank help in Orange county alone are already suffering from diabetes. That is approximately three times the national average. And then 54 per cent have high blood pressure which is again too high when compared to the national average of one in three Americans having high blood pressure.
Against this backdrop, the work of the community organizations that focus on food for the poor takes a whole different perspective. The good news is that a number of them are working together in Central Florida to confront the barriers to healthy eating and the causes of this growing crisis.
There are programs like the Healthy Pantry network which focuses on select sites where low income people can receive free screenings, personal counseling, support services and vouchers to get fresh free nutritious food to supplement their diets. This effort is being run by Second Harvest and has been made possible by the generosity of the West Orange Health District.
Apart from increasing its refrigeration capacity by 450 per cent in just a handful of years, Second Harvest is now also helping its’ partner agencies to do the same. The idea is to be able to store more free dairy products, vegetables, fruit, and meat which will better serve the estimated 500,000 residents who rely on food pantries every year.
Yet another initiative by this organization has reclaimed food from the production system that would otherwise have been wasted. This is the food that would usually end up in landfills or is ploughed under.
It is imperative that as many Americans as possible be sensitized to this challenge and the implications on the entire society, if there is a fighting chance of reversing the current nutritional trends amongst the poor of America.
The purveyors of the best garage door repair Orlando residents can rely loves giving back, and if you want to aid Second Harvest in its wonderful efforts, they can be reached at:
411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32805. View map.
Phone: 407-295-1066 Fax: 407-295-5299