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June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate diversity in the communities we live and serve in and recommit ourselves to the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Despite recent strides, studies show that the LGBTQ+ community is more than twice as likely to experience food insecurity than non-LGBTQ+ adults.
 
We recently read a quote from Dr. Joanne Patterson, a health equity scholar at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, stating that the idea of the LGBTQ+ population being an overall affluent community is false. She further explained, “What we actually see is there’s a fair amount of underemployment, unemployment and wage differentials that negatively affect the LGBTQ community, including a lot of workplace hiring discrimination, resulting in poverty within LGBTQ populations.” According to one study, more than 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ adults in the United States have experienced a time in the last year of not having enough money for food for themselves or their families. The chances of experiencing hunger are even higher for LBGTQ+ people of color.
 
The consequences of this food insecurity are alarming. Food insecurity exacerbates many physical and mental health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, depression and poorer general health and well-being. At the same time, exclusion from essential services leads to higher rates of homelessness, discrimination, and loss of support systems.
 
At Utah Food Bank, we believe that every person deserves access to nutritious food, regardless of who you love or how you identify. We care deeply about every Utahn experiencing food insecurity and are committed to partnering with agencies across the state to feed all our neighbors in need. We strive to build a Utah where we celebrate diversity as we all work together to create an environment where everyone can thrive.
 
 


There are as many faces of hunger as there are causes. Their stories are all around us: the overworked parents skipping meals to save money in the face of rising costs, the sick, retired widow who must choose between food and medicine, and the children who have adapted to the hollow ache of hunger.

Because of you, their stories aren’t without hope. Last year, your contributions helped us distribute 70.2 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 58.5 million meals. You’ve put food into the hands of tens of thousands of neighbors experiencing incredible hardship.

Still, the level of hunger in Utah remains high. 410,000 of our neighbors are facing food insecurity right now – that’s more than the population of Salt Lake City, Provo and St. George combined!

Your support today will help us continue our mission of Fighting Hunger Statewide and provide food to our neighbors facing hunger. Every $10 you donate helps distribute $87.10 worth of goods and services, putting much-needed food on the tables of children, seniors and families in need through this ongoing crisis.

Even without the current crisis of rampant inflation as Utahns struggle to recover after the devastating impacts of the pandemic, summer is a tough time for families struggling to make ends meet and fill empty tummies without the help of school meals. Your generosity can make all the difference for children and families facing hunger in the summer months ahead.

Help us start new stories that spark hope – and begin with thank you – by donating today!

Eating a Meal


It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and we believe it’s important to acknowledge the connection between mental health and food insecurity. The challenges of food insecurity are many – it goes beyond empty tummies – and no age group is safe from the harmful effects it plays on mental health.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic and social impacts, including job losses, health risks, loneliness, supply chain issues and inflation, have hurt everyone. But it has been particularly damaging to the mental health of those experiencing food insecurity.

A growing body of research suggests that food insecurity is associated with poor mental health, including depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition, large-scale disasters and stressful environmental or societal conditions (such as COVID-19) are also associated with higher rates of adverse mental health outcomes. This means that the impact of the pandemic compounds all the challenges food-insecure adults were already facing.

Mothers and children, in particular, are at high risk of experiencing traumatic effects on their mental health. Food-insecure mothers have more than twice the rates of mental health issues than mothers who are food secure. The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that mothers with school-aged children who face severe hunger are 56% more likely to suffer from PTSD and 53% more likely to suffer from severe depression.

Compounding these issues, the odds of behavioral problems among children with food-insecure mothers are double those among children with food-secure mothers. Food-insecure parents are not just anxious about how it will hurt themselves but also their children. Children of all ages whose families are food insecure are at greater risk for mental health challenges, including poor early cognitive development, inattention, poor impulse control, decreased academic performance, and depression.

Older adults aren’t immune to the impact of hunger on mental health either. Adults aged 50–80 who are food insecure are 20% more likely to experience poor mental health than those who are food secure. With inflation rates rapidly increasing, the number of seniors on fixed incomes unable to afford enough to eat and still pay for their other necessities is also rising.

There is more to good mental health than having enough to eat, but when you can feed yourself and your loved ones, you can better cope with other mental health challenges. If you are struggling with food insecurity, please know that you don’t have to fight it alone. Utah Food Bank is here to help. Click here to find out about the resources available to you.

If you would like to join us in fighting hunger and making Utah a healthier, happier place, click here to donate now.

Mental Health


 

It’s back! After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the 30th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is THIS SATURDAY, May 14! This is the nation’s largest 1-day food drive – it has provided 19.3 million pounds in Utah alone since 1993 – and we are so grateful to the many letter carriers whose hard work help make this event happen.

Participation is simple! Just leave a bag of nonperishable food items by your mailbox no later than 9 am on Saturday, and your letter carrier will handle the rest. If for some reason your food isn’t picked up on Saturday, please put it back out Monday morning. Alternatively, you can drop it off at a local food pantry, Utah Food Bank’s Salt Lake or St. George warehouses or any Harmons location.

All nonperishable food donations are appreciated, but healthier options that contain all-natural ingredients and are low sodium/low sugar with no high fructose corn syrup are ideal.

Our most needed food items include:
Peanut Butter
Mac & Cheese
Canned Meats
Chili
Canned Fruits
Boxed Meals

All donations will be distributed to food pantries located in the community where the donation is made, and they are sure to make a significant impact. “Donations received through this food drive come at a crucial time as school gets out and many kids are left without access to school meal programs,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank President & CEO. “Community support of this effort will truly make a difference in the lives of the 1 in 7 Utah kids who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. We are still seeing elevated levels of need due to continued economic fallout from the pandemic in conjunction with record-setting inflation rates.”

So don’t forget to put your bag out by 9 on Saturday morning and help make a difference for the 410,000 Utahns who don’t always have enough to eat!


Moms go hungry every day in Utah so their children don’t have to.

 
“My mommy doesn’t eat,” said a young girl during a recent visit to her neighborhood food pantry. Her mother was visibly embarrassed. But the other mothers there knew first-hand what the little girl’s family was going through. Her mother doesn’t eat because there’s not enough food, and she goes hungry—so her children don’t have to.

Evidence shows that food insecurity has damaging impacts on the health and well-being of children and adults in the short and long term. These impacts often hit womenand mothers especially hard. While researchers don’t typically break down food insecurity studies by gender, since women are more likely to be caring for children, they are more vulnerable to experiencing food insecurity.

As inflation skyrockets, it impacts the ability of families to afford essentials such as gas, rent and food. And lower-income women—especially mothers—carry much of the burden.

Every day, approximately 410,000 Utahns are at risk of missing a meal. As rising costs of food and housing stretch budgets even thinner, more hardworking neighbors are making sacrifices and impossible choices like paying rent—or buying food. But with your gift today, you can make it possible for families to eat—together. Every $10 you donate helps distribute $87.10 worth of goods and services.

If there’s a mother figure in your life you’d like to do something special for but who already has everything, why not donate in their name and send them an e-card to let them know! This Mother’s Day, show mothers and children in our communities how much you care with your support of Utah Food Bank. Together, we can fight hunger.
 


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