Did you know that 1 in 5 South Carolina households with children experience food hardship? In Anderson County, 17% of children have inconsistent access to an adequate amount of food or nutritious food. Families facing food hardship face many difficulties as a result. Imagine having to choose between buying food or paying for utilities. What about choosing between food or transportation, such as a bus ticket? What about medical care? As a result of food hardship, many other necessary resources become limited and must be sacrificed in order to provide food for the family.
In addition to this, hunger impacts health and child development. In order to stretch a family’s food budget out for a longer period of time, many will choose to buy inexpensive, unhealthy foods. This leaves children eating meals of things such as pop tarts and chips. Unhealthy diets among children can lead to many issues later, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Hunger has also been associated with delaying development and impacting a child’s ability to learn, as well as causing behavioral issues.
As you can see, this problem affects many areas of life for a family and can be highly problematic in the current and in the future. Because of this great need, we have a specific ministry here at AIM to help. Our Hunger Ministries are designed to help lessen the hunger problem within Anderson for residents in temporary need or who are receiving SNAP benefits.
In the past year, our food pantry assisted over 35 people each day, over 2,100 households, and almost 13,000 people. This includes the households of over 1,100 children and over 800 seniors. In addition to the year-round food pantry assistance, AIM also makes special seasonal efforts to impact hunger in Anderson. AIM gives out food packages at various holidays, such as Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This past year alone, we gave out over 300 food packages to those needing assistance. Another vital part of our Hunger Ministries is our Summer Food 4 Kids program. During the summer, many children go unfed for at least one meal. Without schools in session to offer free or reduced lunch, food resources in homes for children become scarce. Last summer, our program provided 3,839 food bags to kids living in low-income neighborhoods to help alleviate this need.
For more information on how you can get involved in our fight against hunger in Anderson or receive assistance, see our Hunger Ministries page.