Food Insecurity and our Partnerships
Food insecurity is a real condition that can result from hunger. It can be defined in a variety of ways:
- You don’t know where your next meal is coming from
- You don’t know if you have enough food to provide three meals a day for your family
- You don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food
- You skip your dinner meal so that your children will have enough to eat
According to Feeding America’s landmark survey of clients in its Hunger in American Study 2014, many survive on limited budgets and need to decide between competing basic needs. The study showed that people need to choose between:
The number of people in the United States, Massachusetts, and Franklin struggling with food insecurity is astounding:
- 1 in 8 people (42 million) may experience food insecurity in 2021 (Feeding America)
- 1 in 6 children (13 million) may struggle with hunger in 2021 (Feeding America)
- Food insecurity grew by 55% in Massachusetts from 2019 to 2020 (Greater Boston Food Bank)
- 30% of adults (1.6 million) in Massachusetts experienced food insecurity in late 2020 (Greater Boston Food Bank).
- 3 million seniors (7.3%) were food insecure in 2018 (State of Senior Hunger in America in 2018).
- 58% of Latinx adults in Massachusetts face food insecurity, 45% for Blacks, 54% for Other/Multiracial families (Greater Boston Food Bank)
Although many consider Franklin to be an idyllic community, we are not immune from poverty and food insecurity:
- According to the Greater Boston Food Bank 2021 Report Closing the Meal Gap, 6.7% of Franklin residents were food insecure.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022 the cost of food at home increased by 13.1% nationally and 10.9% locally.
- Today, nearly 10% of Franklin residents are not sure where their next meal will come from.
- According to the US Census Bureau as of July 1, 2022, 5.5% of the population of Franklin lives in poverty.
- According to the Franklin Public School system in March 2023, 804 children in the Franklin School system are signed up for free or reduced school lunch. There are likely more children who qualify but are not signed up.
- The Pantry has never seen more demand for its programs and services than it has seen in 2022-23.
The impact of food insecurity includes:
- Elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and depression caused by worry over how to afford enough food
- Poor school performance and social interaction with peers by children who are hungry
- Increased challenges for seniors that may have a limited fixed income and are faced with growing health expenses, physical limitations, and complex nutritional needs
- Increased consumption of high-calorie or low-nutrition foods since they are more affordable, resulting in long-term health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity
As a member agency of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), the Franklin Food Pantry is vital to the GBFB objective of providing at least one meal a day to those in need. This partnership has helped the Franklin Food Pantry:
- Increase capacity to meet the need in Franklin
- Launch the Mobile Pantry to bring food to people who have difficulty getting to the Pantry – seniors, disabled individuals, and families with small children
- Leverage buying power to acquire quality food that is otherwise unaffordable, such as frozen meats and other high-protein, high-nutrient items
- Implement a nutritional food ranking system to ensure the provision of healthier, more balanced food
The Pantry has a proven 35-year history of successful partnerships and collaborations with:
“Our mission to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts depends on the strength of our partnering agencies to get nutritious food into the homes of those in need. The Franklin Food Pantry is one of our strongest allies in the fight against hunger. We are impressed with all that the Pantry achieved last year and believe its impact will continue to grow.”