Many families in Polk County are facing food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as their measure of the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. This problem affects 13.7% of Polk County’s population.
While food-insecure households don’t face food shortages all the time, they might have to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and providing nutritionally adequate foods for their family. Feeding America reported that 92,000 people in Polk County are living with food insecurity, 32,000 of whom are children.
The Polk County Food Security Council, supported by Polk Vision, aims to create a hunger-free Polk County. The council is made up of a cross-sector of representatives dedicated to ensuring all in our community have equitable access to sufficient quantities of consistently available healthy, nutritious food. This aligns with Polk Vision’s goal to have improved community prosperity before 2030 by enhancing quality of life and improving the healthy weight rate.
Along with addressing the equitable access of healthy food, the council will work to provide education to community members on making healthy food choices and empower them to do so. The council’s guiding principles of equity, diversity and inclusion will celebrate teamwork between private charitable food donations and government-assisted food programs to better assist all members of our community.
In addition, the council will prioritize working intentionally to address increased hunger across all age groups and areas of Polk County due to widespread job loss and the economic impact of COVID-19. Working with food distribution locations across Polk County, the council will support the widespread adoption of food safety standards and healthy environments. Provided education, both directly and through feed programs in the area, will be age-appropriate and culturally sensitive.
The council will advocate for our community at local, state and federal levels. Council members will serve as a Speakers Bureau in providing updates on food insecurity and continuing efforts to the public to better align all hunger relief programs.