Food Insecurity – Resources for Northeast Ohio

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A child holding a bowl while there is a huge crowd standing and walking behind him, signifying Food Insecurity being experienced by some people

One in eight Ohioans face food insecurity, according to Feeding America. For Ohio children, it’s one in seven. These are heart-breaking numbers which continue to get worse. These are heart-breaking numbers which continue to get worse. People battling with food insecurity in Ohio are estimated to report needing $835,411,000 more per year in our community. Just for families to meet the bare minimum of their food needs according to this food gap study.

In Northeast Ohio, particularly, a significant portion of the population faces this reality. Despite holding down jobs and making what might seem like a decent income, many individuals and families still find it incredibly difficult to afford nutritious meals consistently.

Not Poor But Still Struggling

For a family of four, the poverty line is $31,200 household income. For a person living on their own, the threshold is $15,060 household income. Read more about the HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2024 here. Needless to say, these thresholds do not guarantee that a household is safe from hunger if they are earning more than the poverty line. It only means that in the eyes of the Government and the State, they are not poor.

This is where a huge challenge arises for people with income that’s only slightly above the poverty line. One aspect is the lack of eligibility for government assistance programs. They’re not poor, so they don’t qualify for help. Still, they have a long to go to survive food insecurity.

A person showing his empty pocket while being in a food pantry

In reality, poverty simply cannot be defined by numbers. While these safety nets are vital for supporting individuals and families in need, they often come with strict income thresholds that leave many struggling individuals in an extremely challenging position. They are caught in a cycle of earning just enough to disqualify them from assistance but not nearly enough to thrive.

There Is No Shame in Asking for Help

Silhouette of a sad man in front of a crowd and a hand holding a help sign Hunger does not discriminate on the basis of income or social status. If you find yourself caught in this same cycle, it’s not a bad thing to seek help. There are plenty of them available. Food pantries and soup kitchens can be a great support for those facing food insecurity in Northeast Ohio. These organizations work tirelessly to bridge the gap between individuals and families in need and the nutritious food they require.

Remember that satisfying our hunger is not just about surviving or getting by with whatever one can have. It’s also about getting good nutrition. When an individual or a family lacks access to nutritious food, their health will suffer in many ways. Malnutrition can lead to a host of health problems, including stunted growth, weakened immune systems, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Moreover, it is a well-known fact that there is a link between nutrition and mental health. Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining our mental clarity, stability, and overall emotional well-being. Without access to nutritious food, individuals may experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s essential to recognize that seeking assistance alleviate hunger is not a sign of weakness but rather a proof of one’s resilience and desire to keep moving forward.

 

So Where Can You Turn To?

For those who may be unsure of where to go, download the list of food pantries and soup kitchens in Northeast Ohio.

Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens in Northeast Ohio

For areas not listed, visit homelessshelterdirectory.org for a complete guide.

AUI Initiatives

Ohio is our home, and it has been a huge part of AUI’s mission to make it a little better every day. Hence, we’ve a lot of stories to tell which we call AUI Gives Back, showcasing how we offer ourselves to the community as volunteers and sponsors.

We continue to support organizations like the Good Samaritan Hunger Center in their efforts to alleviate food insecurity. They are an amazing organization that distributes food supplies across 5 locations in Greater Ohio. If you want to learn more about what they do and see how you too can support them, visit their website here.

AUI Gives Back stories not only involves hunger-related programs but also covers a wide range of community service. Just recently (March 2024), we hosted a personal hygiene drive for Choices of Akron. Choices is a community social center dedicated to support individuals living with mental health challenges in the Summit County Area.

AUI also partners with some non-profit organizations in their events with a purpose. An example would be with Goodwill Akron, a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to provide employment preparation, training, rehabilitation, and support to persons with disabilities and/or other barriers to employment.

Read more AUI Gives Back stories here and discover how you can get involved too, should you have the same desire to serve the community as we do!

We do more than cover small businesses and individuals with the right insurance policies and benefit plans – what motivates our team is helping you save more so you can invest more in your team, family, and goals.

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