Hunger affects people from all walks of life. Millions in the United States are just one job loss, missed paycheck or medical emergency away from hunger.
September is recognized as Hunger Action Month, a time when individuals and organizations come together to fight hunger and food insecurity. Food insecurity is a lack of consistent access to enough nutrient-dense food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.
In recognition, MHealthy has partnered with the Maize and Blue Cupboard to encourage faculty and staff to raise their awareness, learn how they can help, and find resources to support those in need.
MBC helps to ensure that no one goes without at U-M by providing faculty, staff and students with nutritious food.
“Having access to nutritious food is critical to practicing healthy behaviors and thriving at work and home,” said Erica Owen, nutrition program manager for MHealthy.
Owen said nearly 10% of Washtenaw County residents are food insecure, and that number is near 14% in Wayne and Genesee counties.
To support the U-M community, Maize and Blue Cupboard donation bins are available in university units and departments across campus through Oct. 1.
Community food banks like Food Gatherers, Gleaners and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan are also always looking for support.
Dispelling common misconceptions about food insecurity can also help.
To raise their awareness, faculty and staff can take a five-question quiz related to food and nutrition insecurity. At the end of the quiz, employees can enter a drawing for a chance to win a produce basket from Argus Farm Stop.
According to the Maize and Blue Cupboard, more than 30% of students at U-M experience food insecurity in some way. Employees are also not immune to its effects. Of those U-M employees who screened positive for food insecurity, the majority reported moderate to high health risks.
The Maize and Blue Cupboard, the MHealthy Resource Coach Program and other resources are available to those who are dealing with food or nutrition insecurity. A full list of resources can be found on the MHealthy website.