Today, 821 million individuals currently suffer from hunger. However, enough food is produced annually to feed the entire population of our planet. Crazy, right? There are areas around the world that depend strongly on agriculture to feed their families but may be hindered by drought and other climate changes. Sadly, about 70% of the world’s poorest live in these rural areas. Also, it’s projected that by 2050, a 50% increase in food will need to be produced to supply the demand, yet currently one-third of the food produced world-wide is wasted., If you ask me, that’s absolute lunacy. Fortunately, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations works hard to educate everyone on the facts of world hunger and is making strides toward a #ZeroHunger world.
After that first fact, you may be thinking to yourself, “If there’s enough food to go around, why are people suffering from hunger?” That’s a GREAT question and I can’t wait to fill you in on what I’ve learned!
Hunger is an unfortunate circumstance that can impact anyone no matter their age, walk of life, location, race, religious practices, or health. Food insecurity, which is the inability to provide enough food for one’s self due to finances, lack of transportation, or living in a food desert, is one of the major causes of hunger in America. Families across the nation, even right here on our campus, must decide whether they should pay their electric bill or their next meal, but do not have the means to do both. FACT: In Northeast Florida alone, there are about 281,000 food insecure individuals; that’s about 17% of our population!
It goes without saying that college students are not the most financially well-off group but for some it might be a more serious issue. DYK? An estimate of 33% of college students may experience food insecurity? Or that 40% of students go hungry on a regular basis? Believe it or not, many college students do not have a secure meal source even if they have a meal plan on campus. It’s estimated that a third of all students may experience food insecurity at some point throughout their academic career due to financial burdens or lack of income.
Fortunately, here at UNF, there are free resources for students who struggle to make ends meet. The university has a program that offers food and some day-to-day essentials for students at our Lend-A-Wing (LAW) Pantry located in Hicks Hall (Building 53, Room # 1202) off Kernan Blvd. Students may find anything from dried goods, canned goods, to even fresh produce donated from UNF’s Ogier Gardens. LAW is a donation-based system, so any amount of goods is welcomed. They accept both food donations and cash donations which is used to purchase food in bulk. And, if you’re searching for other local resources BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry) and Feeding Northeast Florida are great institutions that assist those whom battle with food insecurities and constant hunger.
World Food Day is an international event taking place on October 16, 2018 and UNF Dining Services is hosting a table-side event in the Osprey Café in honor of it. We will be partnering up with both, UNF Ogier Gardens and the Food Fighters to raise awareness on world hunger and food waste altogether. Students will be able to learn more about what they can do to fight hunger meanwhile planting seeds while eating their lunch, literally! Find out more about our World Food Day event by checking out our website, looking for the calendars posted at our dining locations, searching for it on the UNF calendar, or through our social media! (@OspreyDietitian and @UNFdining)
As always-- Stay Healthy Ospreys!
All images courtesy of unf.edu, unfspinnaker.com, or fao.org.