While many people look forward to the holidays and getting together with family to enjoy meals together, about 1 in 10 people are suffering from food insecurity in Connecticut. Nationally, 1 in 6 children faces hunger. The rates of food insecurity are rising, according to data from Feeding America.
What is Food Insecurity?
Being food insecure means a person lacks access to enough food for an active, healthy life and it is associated with many adverse health and social problems. The causes of food insecurity can be losing employment and poverty as well as systemic issues that can disproportionately affect people of color.
What Are the Effects of Food Insecurity?
The impact of food insecurity can depend on the circumstance of each person. For example, it can affect the healthy development of children. Some common effects of food insecurity include:
– Serious health complications, especially when people experiencing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food or on medical care or medicine
-Harming a child’s ability to learn and grow.
-Difficult decisions, such as choosing between paying for food and heating, electricity, rent and transportation.
How can Milk Help Food Insecurity?
When it comes to addressing the issue of food insecurity, the dairy industry has played an important and proactive role. Here are 5 ways milk is helping to address food insecurity:
Good nutrition is vital to good health, and even more important for children. Milk has been referred to as Nature’s Perfect Food as one glass of milk packs a powerful punch of 13 essential nutrients. From 8 ounces of high-quality protein to vitamins that help to boost the immune system to those that help build strong bones, teeth and muscles, no other beverage provides the same combination of nutrients as milk.
At about $0.27.8 per 8-ounce serving (using the average cost of a gallon of milk in CT in September 2022), milk is more affordable than sodas, sports drinks and milk imitators – like those made of almonds and oat. Milk also provides natural nutrition not found in milk imitators and helps to keep people hydrated.
School Programs –
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are key components of school meal programs across the state. For many children who rely on free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch at school, these meals may be the only time they have access to nutritional dairy.
Milk is one of the most requested items at donation centers and food banks. The dairy industry has teamed with Feeding America food banks across the country to provide fresh and nutritious milk. Dairy famers and workers also donate their time at food drives and food distribution events.
With the global push to seek ways to produce food and beverages more sustainably to minimize the impact on the planet and on communities, the dairy industry has demonstrated its commitment. On Connecticut’s dairy farms, sustainability is way of life, and it now takes less water and land to produce a gallon of milk. The dairy industry also has a commitment to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.