Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
November is hunger and homelessness awareness month. There are so many people struggling to eat and find a safe place to live, so it is important to help when possible. In order to combat hunger, the Caseyville Public Library will be holding a food drive until the end of the month. Canned foods, powdered milk, cooking oil, spices, pasta, canned meat, or rice are just a few ideas of what could be donated. Simply bring any donations into the library and they will be donated to the Caseyville Emergency Food Pantry at the end of the month. The library is also hosting a coat drive until November 22nd, which has been put together by the library’s CO-OP student. These donations can also be dropped off inside the library.
Hunger has always been an issue and in the 1990’s the number of people struggling with food insecurity started to be measured. 2019 rates of food insecurity were the lowest they had been in 20 years. However, just because rates of food insecurity were the lowest they had ever been does not mean that it was a low number of people affected. An estimated 35 million people, with 11 million being children, faced food insecurity in 2019. This amount jumped higher in the past two years and is predicted to be affecting 42 million people (1 in 8), with 13 million being children (1 in 6) in 2021. Housing instability has also been an ongoing issue, and rates have increased due to COVID-19. Many people were let go of their jobs, fewer people were leaving their homes, and several places such as restaurants were forced to close. When there are fewer customers, there are fewer jobs, and unemployment means money struggles. Money is essential to living, so funds can mean the difference between living on the street and even life or death. Even without a pandemic, hunger and homelessness can affect anyone. Many people do not have a large disposable income, so one event could mean a substantial monetary struggle. If someone needs life-saving surgery or their car breaks down, that is a large sum of money most people will pay out of pocket. Life is unpredictable, and it does not take much for someone to be knocked off their feet. It is so important to bring awareness to hunger and homelessness and continue to find ways to combat this issue.
(Image retrieved from Feeding America article- Food Insecurity and Poverty in the US)
IDHS: Cash, SNAP (Food Stamps) & Medical Assistance (SNAP application and information)
Food Insecurity and Poverty in the US (This has really good information on coronavirus’ impact on hunger in the U.S.)
Madison County Helpline: 618-296-5300 (Will help caller connect with needed resources)
You can help our local families by donating to our food drive this November. If you need to speak to someone about assistance with food, housing, utilities, or seeking counseling, you can set up an appointment by calling 618-345-5848 and asking for Leah, our student social worker, or by contacting the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This post was written by Leah, Caseyville Library's student social worker from SIUE.