September is Hunger Action Month!

Hunger Action Month- Written by UTK Dietetic Intern, Scott Trama

Did you know that September is Hunger Action Month? As the lengthy battle with the COVID-19 pandemic continues, helping those at-risk has become more important than ever. It is estimated that 40% of those currently visiting food banks need assistance directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that many temporary food assistance benefits set to expire in September, now is the perfect time to take action and become involved in the fight against hunger, Fortunately, there are many ways to become involved in your local food banks. Even for those with limited time and/or financial constraints, there are numerous ways to have an impact.

Donate: For those in the fortunate position of having expendable resources, donations are one of the most important ways to fight hunger.

Donate Food- Donating shelf-stable food, especially protein foods such as meats, is always helpful to local food banks.

Donate Money- While food donations are always appreciated, monetary donations are even more useful to your local food bank for a number of reasons. Even seemingly small donations can add up and go a long way. Here are a couple of ideas for how to save some money that can be donated:

  • Make coffee at home for a week instead of buying it elsewhere and donate the money saved
  • Eliminate one take-out meal each week in favor of a more cost-effective home cooked meal and donate the money saved
  • Fundraise online. Social media pages such as Facebook now make it easier than ever to fundraise online. These messages can spread quickly!

Donate Time-  For those without expendable food or monetary donations available, donating TIME is a free way to help fight hunger. Food banks and their food pantries rely heavily on volunteers to help with their day-to-day operations. Even one monthly volunteer session is immensely helpful.

Learn and Educate-   Becoming more aware of both the depth of hunger problems and the factors that contribute to it is one cost-free way to better equip yourself to fight hunger in America. Many pages, including the ones listed below, are full of information that can begin conversations with friends and family. After becoming more educated on food insecurity, it is important to spread the word to others. Use your newfound knowledge to educate and inspire others to become involved as well.

Become Involved Politically:  Regardless of which political party you typically align with, being politically active can help to address the problem! Below are just a few ways that being politically active can help you to address hunger.

  • Learn a candidate’s views on addressing food insecurity and take them into consideration when voting
  • Call your local representatives and lobby them to support legislation that would help to address food insecurity and fund programs that would benefit your community
  • Help others to become aware of how to vote and how certain candidates will address food insecurity

Sources:

Slupski, Ash. 7 Ways to Help During Hunger Action Month. Feeding America. https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/7-ways-help-during-hunger-action-month. Accessed 8/3/21. Community Food Share. Learn About Hunger. https://communityfoodshare.org/learn/hunger101/ Accessed 8/3/21 Food For People. September is Hunger Action Month. https://www.foodforpeople.org/sites/default/files/FFP_HAM%202016%2030%20Ways%20in%2 030%20Days%20Calendar%2011×17.jpg. Accessed 8/3/21.

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