Every Wednesday evening we serve a meal for the women and children of Lydia’s House. The meals are provided by various faith communities, professional organizations, individuals and businesses.
These community meals are an important part of the programming at Lydia’s House. If asked why, we might talk about the benefits of sharing a meal together, or just giving the women a break from preparing and serving one meal. What we know, however, is that for many of our residents the community meal is important because it may be one of the healthiest and most substantial meals they eat all week.
Food insecurity is an important issue in Missouri and across the country. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines food insecurity as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.” In 2013 approximately 16% of the population in St. Louis County was considered food insecure, and that percentage increased to 22% if you only counted the children in the county. In that same year, 14% of households in the U.S. were classified as food insecure.
Reducing food insecurity is not a simple task as the reasons for food insecurity vary around the globe. In the U.S., major causes of food insecurity include unemployment, high housing costs, low wages and poverty, lack of access to food stamps and medical or health costs. Until we are able to get a grasp on how to reduce the pervasiveness of food insecurity, we can continue to donate to food banks or homeless shelters. And here at Lydia’s House we will continue to serve community meals.
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make the community meals a possibility, from those who prepare and deliver the food to those who help serve the food and clean up after the meal. If you are interested in getting involved with the community meals, please e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.