Food insecurity is becoming an increasingly severe problem in America, and its effects are strongly felt in Yavapai County. Roughly 1 in 7 households in our county struggle with food security daily, making it difficult for families to put healthy meals on the table or access nutritional resources.
The causes of food insecurity are complex and multifaceted. Still, they include low-wage jobs that do not pay enough to support basic living expenses, high living costs such as housing or utilities, health issues that make it difficult for individuals to work or cook for themselves, and insufficient government benefits like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women Infants and Children).
Unfortunately, numerous adverse effects of food insecurity can impact families and individuals beyond the immediate issue of not having enough to eat. These include higher rates of depression and anxiety, increased medical costs due to poor nutrition or chronic health conditions, struggles with educational attainment and employment success, and a higher risk of substance abuse.
In Yavapai County, we are lucky to have programs like the Feed Your Neighbor Program, which makes fresh fruits, vegetables, and staple foods accessible to food-insecure individuals and families. This summer, June through September 2022, Feed Your Neighbors held 10 distribution days, utilized 95 volunteer hours, spent $9,731 on fresh produce/eggs/bread from local farmers, built and delivered 168 boxes of food, and delivered hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to Prescott Community Cupboard to supplement their non-perishable offerings.
To learn more about this and other programs that help support food-insecure individuals and families, please visit us at yavapaiuw.org.