UNYC Director of Stewardship
Rev. Susan M. Ranous, Deacon of Stewardship
WebMD has this to say about food insecurity: “Most people can go to the grocery store and buy the food they need, but not everyone can get enough healthy food easily. This is called food insecurity, and it can look different for different people…Low food security is when the food you eat is lower-quality or isn’t very appealing, and you don't have many choices. But you typically get enough food. Very low food security is when you can’t get food when you need to or you have to eat less because you don’t have money or other ways to get it.” It goes on to say that food insecurity can lead to lifelong illness such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It also affects children’s health.
As a United Methodist Deacon ordained to justice, I was very interested in a recent article reporting a decision made by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, extending SNAP benefits to college students, older persons and others. This decision involves, in part, the ability to apply, the length of the application, etc.
We are fortunate in the community of Baldwinsville to have a Food Pantry that is housed and run by our very own church, ably led by a multitude of volunteers that assure that persons who are in need in our community are able to receive healthy foods. Not everyone is as fortunate!
There are college students who, because of the tuition, books and other costs don’t have enough money to pay for healthy meals, which leaves them either (1) hungry; or (2) eating unhealthy foods. Their studies may suffer. This food insecurity could easily lead not only to hunger or ill health, but an inability to learn and study, which could lead to more time spent to accomplish the necessary classes, lower grades, and the inability to get a well-paying job.
Food insecurity is an issue that I believe really shouldn’t be part of our country. US News says that the United States is a “North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power.” How are children going without food, families living with unhealthy eating habits and scores of people, from babies to the elder, unable to obtain good food?
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, had the viewpoint that plant-based eating was the healthiest form of eating; and some of that was due to his belief in creation care and the ultimate care for animals, but it was also strongly based on his belief that people who eat healthily and have healthy eating baits would be practicing a strong spiritual practice and have good health and a connection with God.
I believe that we, as United Methodists and as Christians, must work toward an eradication of food insecurity, both low and very low food insecurity, to assure that all persons, of all ages, of all socio-economic backgrounds have sufficient healthy food on a regular, recurring basis. May it be so! - Rev. Susan M. Ranous