Today, the term describing hunger is food insecurity. What exactly does it mean to be food insecure? It means lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. There may be a little food at home tonight, but there is nothing for tomorrow or the next day.
On Friday afternoon when school is dismissed, many of our elementary students are sent home with backpacks filled with food. Included are pre-packaged foods that can be opened and eaten by a child. From the school lunch on Friday until the school breakfast on Monday (68 hours) the backpack food may be all that is available to that child and their family.
2500 to 4400 Food-Insecure Neighbors in 75069 Zip Code
Per the North Texas Food Bank, 40% of people living below poverty level are food-insecure, and an estimated 20% of those with low incomes are also food-insecure. These neighbors, people who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from, are the people Community Garden Kitchen hopes to serve.
This area of approximately 10 square miles is the portion of McKinney East of Highway 75; essentially, the 75069 zip code.
Holy Family School, the building site for Community Garden Kitchen, is centrally located in this area. It is no more than 3 miles from anywhere in the low-income zones. Food-insecure families will have easy access to CGK.
How Food Insecurity Impacts Families:
- In McKinney I.S.D., one in four students are food insecure.
- Kindergarteners who experience even minimal food insecurity at home learn less than their peers do during that formative year. Those who experience higher food insecurity fall even further behind.
- Undernourished elementary school students have lower math scores and are more likely to repeat a grade level. They are also more likely to have seen a psychologist and have a harder time getting along with their peers.
- As they enter adolescence, food insecure children are twice as likely to be suspended from school.
- Children who suffer from very low food security are twice as likely to require special educational services, which can be nearly double the cost of a mainstream public education.
- The average household with very low food security experiences the condition during seven months of the year.
- Food insecure women may be at greater risk of major depression and other mental health problems.
- 15% of the community is below the poverty line.