A Flawed Food System
Over 500 billion dollars are spent annually in the US for treating chronic diseases, most of which are preventable with diet and moderate exercise. Yet many families cannot afford the nutritious foods that are critical to health and well-being.
The Food Insecurity Cycle
According to the USDA, 1 in 8 US households is food insecure, meaning that they do not have enough money to purchase the food they need for an active, healthy life. This amounts to nearly 20 million adults and 6.5 million children.
Hunger and health go hand-in-hand
People who are food insecure must often cope with inadequate food budgets by shifting their food purchases to less healthy foods that take a heavy toll on their health. A pattern emerges: binge eating when food is available in anticipation of future food shortages, eating low-cost foods that are more filling, and missing meals when money runs low. These coping mechanisms contribute to chronic disease and decreased quality of life. Emergency food assistance offers respite, but many programs are difficult to access and offer limited choice. Vouchers 4 Veggies provides low-income residents with resources to purchase healthy foods that fit their cultures and lifestyles. The vouchers fill a critical gap at the end of the month when food budgets have otherwise run dry.
Shrinking “Food Deserts”
Struggling to eat a healthy diet is not always just an issue of affordability. It can sometimes be difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables because of the neighborhood or place where you live. According to the USDA, food deserts are areas—usually impoverished–without access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful foods. Vouchers 4 Veggies reduces food deserts by supporting the ability of local retailers to stock fresh produce – resulting in more healthy and vibrant communities for everyone.
Vouchers 4 Veggies believes that all people, in all neighborhoods, should be able to access and afford fruits and vegetables. And we are working hard to make that belief a reality.