Prior to becoming a volunteer at Midwest Food Bank, "food insecurity" was a foreign term. I wasn't familiar with the concept and certainly hadn't experienced it first-hand. I would quickly come to learn that food insecurity is defined as having limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food and limited or uncertain ability to acquire suitable foods in socially acceptable ways.

So, is food insecurity the same as hunger? While the two terms are related, they don't mean the same thing. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort caused by a lack of food, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household. All of us have experienced hunger, but not all of us have experienced food insecurity.

Many might guess that because the United States is such a wealthy nation, food insecurity wouldn't be an issue. After all, everyone has access to food, right? Sadly, that's far from the case. Food insecurity is an issue spanning across every demographic and impacting every community throughout our nation. An estimated 1 in 8 Americans are food insecure including more than 12 million children.

These numbers drive Midwest Food Bank's mission to share the love of Christ by alleviating hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world. Our efforts in in alleviating the suffering in the communities we serve are more than giving a simple meal. It is our hope to help people on a longer-term basis, providing our partner agencies with an adequate supply of food to distribute. To learn more about food insecurity, hunger, or to help in our mission, we invite you to consider volunteering, or making a financial donation.

Thanks to volunteer Jessica Bong for this post.