Brexville, Ohio – Hunger. Food insecurity. Those words seem to be the same. But you might be surprised to learn that hunger and food insecurity mean different things.
Hunger is the feeling you get when you’re not eating. Food insecurity is the constant lack of food to live a healthy life due to economic conditions.
The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of consistent access to enough food for everyone in the household to lead an active and healthy life. This may be a temporary situation for the family, or it may be long-lasting. Food insecurity is one way to measure the number of people who cannot afford food.
More than 34 million people in the United States, including 9 million children, experience food insecurity.
Madeline Vanhorn: A young woman from Brexville who graduated from Bowling Green State University created a public good by helping food-insecure people access nutritious meals.
Recently graduated in Health Services Administration from BGSU College of Health & Human Services, Madeline VanHorn used an accelerated course from her undergraduate degree to MHSA as an undergraduate to complete both degrees at age 22. .
In the process of completing her degree requirements, VanHorn used this opportunity to help others and see first-hand how her behind-the-scenes role can improve health. She conducted a capstone project at her CommunityCare Free Medical Clinic in Toledo, investigating how the nutritional habits of uninsured patients changed after the COVID-19 outbreak.
While acquiring data, VanHorn found that many eating habits were changing simply because many were unaware of the resources available to patients experiencing food insecurity. Did. In response, VanHorn has produced an information sheet detailing how patients can obtain assistance that can be used as handouts during the visit.
“Many patients are so food insecure that they can’t get help if they don’t know what resources can help them,” Van Horn said. Many of our patients cannot afford food, have little transportation to clinics, and much of what they eat is fast food or frozen food. You get the chance to eat more valuable food, more knowledge, and healthier diets.
“Talking about resources filled the gap. They didn’t know about resources, so they weren’t using them.”
VanHorn plans to present her research at multiple conferences in 2023. She said, “It was so cool to interact with people, collect data, analyze it, and create something real that patients could use in the future.”
Aspiring to become a hospital executive in the future, VanHorn enrolled in BGSU after completing 60 college credits in high school and opted for the fast-track option of a hybrid MHSA program while in college. This option allowed VanHorn to land a job 3.5 years after high school with a master’s degree.
“For what I want to do, I need to have a master’s degree, so the fast track from bachelor’s degree to MHSA kept me ahead of the game,” she said. I was. “As soon as I graduate, I can get a job that is more about what I want to do than the basics.”
When she met with several hospital directors over the summer, VanHorn said their advice, combined with knowledge from her BGSU class, ensured she made the right choice of career path. rice field.
“They expressed how much they could actually get to help their patients. “I really liked being behind the scenes in medicine, so I feel like I can reach out and help so many people.”
what you can do. Van Horn is one of those concerned with food insecurity. She’s on track to make sure her career path is one that helps people, you can make a difference too. As they say, it requires a village. If food insecurity is important to you, there are many ways people in our community who are suffering from food insecurity can contact the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to get the help they need. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s mission is to ensure that everyone in our community has the nutritious food they need every day.
As Robert Higgs recently reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, inflation predicts that food banks will spend three times as much on food next year than they did pre-pandemic. Demand for food bank services remains high. Inflation remains high, driving up costs for both clients and food banks. And while the public stepped up with donations and volunteer efforts during the pandemic, the question is how long that will last.
In the days before COVID-19, food banks were serving about 300,000 people each year. In 2020, that number skyrocketed to his 400,000 help requests. In 2021, it has decreased to about 340,000, but it continues to increase to 350,000 in 2021.
Food insecurity in the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s seven county service areas (total population of about 1.7 million) affects about 1 in 6 people. Food insecurity means not knowing where your next meal will be.
There are many ways to help: host a Food and Funds Drive, donate online, volunteer, or create a virtual food drive.
If you need assistance with meals, please contact the Food Bank Help Center at 216-738-2067. One of her client help specialists is happy to help.
For more information, please visit www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is located at 13815 Coit Road in Cleveland.
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