By Doris Vallejo-Aguilar, UT Intern, Spring 2017
Most of us assume that food is just around the corner at our closest grocery store. Food security is something we can easily take for granted. We have access to food and it is available to us at all times. It helps us keep a healthy life too. There are people who do not know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity happens when people do not have food available or access to food. We need to look at who this affects the most to find relief.
There are many people affected by food insecurity but the Latino population is more likely to suffer from food insecurity. Why?
According to Feeding America, the Latino population is disproportionally measured when it comes to poverty and food insecurity. This may be due to the fast growing rate of Latinos in the United States. Sometimes, the Latino population does not get support from federal nutrition programs. It is hard to find support anywhere else if Latinos do not have support from the government. Latinos are more likely to get sick from what they eat. If Latinos are suffering from food insecurity, they may have no choice but to eat foods that are not as healthy.
A study from the University of Texas looked at food insecurity in the City of Austin. The focus areas were neighborhoods east of I-35. These neighborhoods are mainly populated by minority groups like Latinos. The study found the less access to full-service grocery stores, the more food-insecure homes. A full service grocery store has fresh fruits and vegetables, a meat department, and fresh dairy products. We can see that Latinos in these areas might not have access to affordable and healthy food.
The following is a list of food pantries in Austin that you can check out:
Central Texas Food Bank www.centraltexasfoodbank.org
Caritas of Austin http://www.caritasofaustin.org/programs-and-services/food
Manos De Cristo http://www.manosdecristo.org
Hope Food Pantry Austin http://hopefoodpantryaustin.org/
Salvation Army www.salvationarmyaustin.org
The bad news is Latinos are still suffering from food insecurity. The good news is there are places in Austin where you can get help. Donate, volunteer, or get help from your closest food pantry. We are all looking out for you!