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The difference between hunger and food insecurity

Every industry has a "language" and food banks are no different. At Midwest Food Bank we use words like "hunger" and "food insecurity" on a regular basis. But, what do those words really mean?

Hunger – This is a physical condition that is caused by a lack of food.

Food Insecurity – The USDA defines this as the "lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle." At Midwest Food Bank, we like to say, "Not knowing where your next meal is coming from."

There are several causes for food insecurity including unemployment, under-employment, a medical crisis, or living in an area where food prices are high. In 2019 the USDA data shows 10.5 percent of households in the United States were food insecure at some point during the year. Single mother households and households below the poverty line are groups at the highest risk, but families that don't qualify for food assistance can also find themselves food insecure. This group often is choosing between basic needs like food or medicine; food or shoes and coats. Due to the economic shutdown, food insecurity spiked to estimated highs of 23% in April 2020.

Midwest Food Bank works each day, thanks to our thousands of donors and volunteers, to stand in that gap and find solutions to food insecurity and hunger. Our daily routine centers around gathering up food and getting it to people that need it. We believe this is important work because helping people get access to enough food can impact their health, education, and emotional well-being. It's also what the Bible instructs us to do.

"The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor." Proverbs 22:9

To volunteer and be a part of the Midwest Food Bank's efforts to alleviate hunger, click here.

To learn more about Midwest Food Bank's operating model, watch this a short video here: 

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