By: Zion Lee
In 2020, America’s Health Rankings United Health Foundation reported that New Jersey was the third most food insecure state in the U.S. preceded by New Hampshire and Hawaii. Such disparity presented by the data is concerning as, despite New Jersey being reported as amongst the top three richest states in the U.S., a portion of its population is struggling with food insecurity. Food insecurity, lacking the ability to financially access food resources, is a major concern that has a widespread impact. Not only does food insecurity affect the basic needs of those affected, but many individuals will see an increase in risk for food insecurity. Food insecurity does not discriminate as those who are living below or above the poverty line and who are impacted by specific environmental conditions such as where individuals were born, live, work, and learn, factors known as social determinants, are all susceptible to the issue.
This inequity must be addressed as obtaining one’s daily nutritional requirements is imperative to not only maintaining physical health, but also cognitive health as supported by the CDC. While food insecurity deals with food and hunger, there are other factors that can contribute and be exacerbated by food insecurity, including health and quality of life. The basic needs of individuals must be met in order to increase the quality of life and provide them with the time and ability to address the complexities of life such as maintaining a job, supporting ones’ family, enriching ones’ social life, and prevent serious debilitating medical issues that can lead to further complications as food insecurity prevails.
If you or someone you know is impacted by food insecurity in Mercer County, The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (72 Escher St, Trenton, NJ 08609), Arm in Arm (123 E Hanover St, Trenton, NJ 08608), and various other sites in The Streetlight Resource Guide are able to help provide you with resources and food. Together, we can work towards ensuring food security.