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Food Insecurity and Mental Health

May 29 | Colleen Guirand

Food insecurity affects millions of Americans, taking a toll not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. Our mission goes beyond just feeding the hungry; we aim to understand and address the deeper impacts of not having enough food.

In 2023, nearly 28 million adults across the country faced food insecurity. Here on Long Island, around 234,000 people, including 65,000 children, struggled to have enough to eat. This issue stems from various factors like unemployment and the high cost of living.

Interestingly, there’s a well-researched link between food insecurity and mental health. The NCBI found that a lack of food can cause anxiety and stress. For children, the impact is even more concerning, affecting their cognitive and behavioral development in the long run. Kids in food-insecure households often struggle in school, both academically and socially. The same goes for children who eat daily but consume meals lacking proper nutrition.

The Impact of Our Children’s Programs

One of our key initiatives is the weekend Aspara’Gus’ Breakfast Food Truck program for children and families. By providing nutritious meals on weekends, this program supports those who depend on weekday meals, with substantial benefits such as:

  • Mental Well-Being: Knowing that food is available over the weekend reduces anxiety and stress for children, allowing them to focus more on school and enjoy social activities.
  • Familial Stress Reduction: Caretakers are relieved knowing that they don’t have to constantly worry about how to feed their children during the weekend. This allows them to focus more on other aspects of family life, such as personal well-being and work.

A Comprehensive Approach

At Long Island Cares, we look at food insecurity from all angles, to better support individuals
from different walks of life. We also offer resources like:

  • Nutrition Education: Long Island Cares helps our member agencies through the Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables (JSY) program, offering engaging workshops and demonstrations. These sessions encourage healthier eating habits by promoting the
    consumption of fruits and vegetables, which is especially beneficial for those with chronic diseases.
  • Support Services: We offer care and advocacy to our seniors through our Supporting Our Seniors (SOS) Mobile Pantry program where we tailor our services to the specific needs of those within our community. Through this program, we deliver emergency food and non-perishable items to senior centers in Long Island when needed most.

We need your help to fight food insecurity and its impact on mental health in our community. Whether you volunteer your time, donate food, or provide financial support, your contribution makes a huge difference. Together, we can work towards a hunger-free Long Island and improve the mental health of those affected by food insecurity. Let’s join hands in creating a healthier, more secure future for everyone.
For more information on how to give back, please visit:

Donate  | Volunteer 

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