I remember being at a meeting when I first moved back to Lawrence. I was extremely green behind the ears as it related to a community that I was becoming acquainted with again. All was well until I heard someone say...
"WE DON'T HAVE HUNGRY PEOPLE IN LAWRENCE...EVERYONE'S TOO FAT."
We live in a community that is stuffed...and starved. In a recent survey of Just Food clients, when asked what their health was in general:
43% of respondents said "fair" 37% said "good" 8% said "poor"
People don't die from hunger in Lawrence, and because of that, it doesn't feel like it is that big of a deal. But it's not hunger that is going to kill our community, and for the first time, leave a generation that will live sicker and die younger than the previous one.
People aren't dying...but their overall health is. It's possible to be stuffed...and starved. There is a significant amount of research that points to the fact that if children in their formative years are not getting adequate nutrition in their diets, and processed and fast food abound, they will have cognitive deficiencies. Social anxieties. They will be obese. They won't graduate from high school, won't get a job with health insurance, and because their body lacks nutrition, they'll be sick more often than not.
Many of our clients are living off of a diet that consists of food that cause weight gain without nourishing the body. It seems like a paradox...how can food cause you to gain weight without giving you what you need?
We have let it happen. We have made our model one of feeding the masses instead of taking care of the person. It's all wrong.
Join me this week and next as I tell a story. It's a story that starts with a focus on the things that matter the most. It's a focus on stories of people, not all over the world, but across the street, that are struggling with this epidemic of being food insecure. Then, I'll tell you what Just Food, the Douglas County Food Bank is doing about it.
"Just Food has enabled me to change the way my family eats. It's not just a food pantry. It's a cadillac food pantry." -A single mother, 40, with three kids
I can't think of a better compliment. And I can't wait to share more of this story.