A recent survey by the Bucks County Hunger and Nutrition Coalition shows that locally, 59% of food insecure households include at least one person with a chronic illness – a statistic that matches the national results. Feeding America reports that of all American households that visit pantries, 58% have at least one limb with high blood pressure, and 33% have at least one limb with diabetes.
Managing a chronic disease can be difficult, even under ideal conditions. It is even more difficult for those who experience food insecurity.
“Food insecurity” describes a lack of financial resources for food at the household level. Food insecure households have less control over what foods they can access than households with more financial resources.
Help eliminate hunger: The pandemic has left 30,000 residents of Bucks County without enough food. Help the United Way end hunger
Frequently, the most affordable fast and hearty foods are canned or processed with significant amounts of sodium, fat and sugar.
But with many chronic health conditions like diabetes or hypertension that are directly related to diet managing, local hunger relief organizations are emphasizing ensuring better options for residents of Bucks County.
Maddie Burgess, manager of two large-volume pantries operated by the Bucks County Housing Group, has partnered with Philabundance to improve the diet and health of pantry guests.
The Healthy Pantry Initiative works with food banks and pantries to increase the availability of healthy food and drink options. The initiative encourages consumption of these foods by making environmental changes, such as placing healthy foods in more visible and attractive displays at eye level. It also offers nutrition education such as healthy food tastings, demonstrations, recipes and classes.
“It’s really important to have healthy options that customers can choose from just like anyone else,” said Burgess.
While Burgess has high hopes for her clients’ health to improve, she stressed that Bucks County will see better health outcomes across the county if more local pantries can provide healthy options. United Way of Bucks County’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger campaign is playing a key role in making this happen.
“We know that a good diet is essential for staying healthy,” said Tim Philpot, director of financial stability and health for the United Way of Bucks County. “This is why Bucks Knocks Out Hunger is so important. Healthy food has always been our priority. All cash donations help provide fresh, local produce, eggs, lean protein, and other staples. “
This year’s Knock Out Hunger campaign also includes a county-wide contactless food drive on June 18-19. Organizers are encouraging supporters to donate healthier foods, like low-sodium canned goods, juices with no added sugar and whole grains. elements.
“Less than half of the people we surveyed locally said they were able to follow the diets their health providers recommended over foods they could get in pantries. If more people donate healthy options this year, we can help fix that, ”Philpot said.
“We want to make sure that food insecure people are both fed today and healthy tomorrow. “
How you can help
United Way of Bucks County hopes to raise 30,000 pounds of healthy food this year, as well as $ 100,000 to buy healthy food for pantries.
The food drive, a contactless drive-thru operation, will take place on June 18-19. To learn more about the drive, see a list of the types of healthy food items needed or donate to the Bucks Knocks Out Hunger Campaign, visit www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger or mail a check to Bucks County United Way, 413 Hood Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA 19030 and write BKO Hunger in the memo line.