The Chester County Food Bank broadly defines food insecurity as “a household that is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food at any given time.” Food security, as you might imagine, is the opposite, “a household that has reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food at any given time.” Though Chester County is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, food insecurity remains a serious issue for many of our residents and lies at the heart of CCFB’s mission to mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.
There are numerous reasons why a family may experience food insecurity, either for a few tight months or for years at a time. The situation may be related to unexpected unemployment, a sudden health crisis or disability, or simply a struggle to make ends meet. As of the 2015 American Community Survey, Chester County has 7.1 percent of the population living below the federal poverty level, or approximately 35,000 people, yet 9.8% are food insecure due to the high cost of living. Each family’s complex scenario is the driving force behind our diverse programs.
The Food Security Initiatives goals are to nurture a healthful and inclusive food environment which empowers food insecure families to grow, cook and eat beneficial foods and to offer opportunities for food-centered education and community engagement. Our programs include the Fresh2You Mobile Market, Raised Bed Gardens, EatFresh & EatFresh Kids and Best Choices Pantry. Each program is designed to do our part to mediate some of the root causes of food insecurity as we build community and increase access to real, healthy food.
For further reading, check out CCFB’s Community Food Security Assessment.