Today, October 24th marks National Food Day in the United States. What exactly is National Food Day? Each year, Food Day posts several priorities on its website for National Food Day and hosts thousands of events across the nation to educate people about healthy diets and advocate for better food policy. This year the priorities are as follows:
1. Promote safe, healthier diets
2. Support sustainable and organic farms
3. Reduce hunger and improve food access
4. Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals
5. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers
Each priority is in and of itself a serious undertaking; and while we support them wholeheartedly, it is vital that our priorities take into account the nutrition needs of every individual in our communities. Increasing SNAP benefits is one way to improve food access, in addition to ensuring every community has an accessible grocery store, yet our clients are not always able to take advantage of SNAP benefits or grocery stores, both because of mobility issues and a desperate need for specialized diets. They are very ill with various debilitating diseases that prevent them from shopping and cooking for themselves. Especially as the number of people living with chronic and severe illnesses increases, access to food and the goal that it be a safe and healthy diet requires a broad view. We work hard to highlight the perspective of our clients on Food Day and throughout the year.
God’s Love is currently the only organization in New York City that provides medically tailored home-delivered meals. These meals are specifically tailored to a client’s illness by registered dietitians. While there are other organizations like God’s Love We Deliver, many of them involved in our Food is Medicine Coalition, the services we provide are not available in many states across the country, leaving the seriously ill facing food insecurity and malnutrition. We commend Food Day for shedding light on some of the most serious issues we face in the food world across the nation and hope as you reflect on National Food Day that you remember the other faces of hunger that exist in communities across our country.
If you would like more information on our advocacy efforts please follow our blog or follow the Food is Medicine Coalition on twitter @fimcoalition to learn about what we are doing in the food and nutrition world.