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Tanya Tandoc

Food Insecurity

KMUW file photo

I am thankful every day that I am able to afford to buy the food I want to eat. I haven’t always had that luxury. I ate a lot of beans and tortillas when I was in my 20s, and have had to make the choice between gasoline and groceries many times. My financial situation has improved considerably since then, but I know what it’s like to be worried about food.

More than 17 million households in the United States are food insecure, meaning that they don’t have the physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. In 2010, the Kansas Food Bank reported that 200,000 Kansans — a third of whom are children – receive emergency food each year through the nation’s network of food banks and the agencies they serve.

According to the same study, Kansas has the 7th highest percentage of residents who are either cutting back on the quantity and quality of food, or skipping meals entirely.

These statistics make me sad. That’s a lot of hungry people. I see them walk past the restaurant every day. We try to help by donating our leftover soup to Interfaith Ministries’ homeless shelter, one of the few facilities in town that can take already prepared food. Sharing food is essential to a successful society, as well as a wonderful way to care for other people.