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Feeding Our Neighbors

“The only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”

Louis C.K.


What is food insecurity? Learn the vocabulary.

--food insecurity: a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to food;

--food desert: an area where  little fresh, healthful, and affordable food is available, usually in low-income areas (eg neighborhoods where fast food and convenience stores dominate);

--Federal poverty level: if a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold as determined by the Federal government’s guidelines (in 2023, the poverty line is $30,000 for a family of four).


The injustice of Poverty and Food Insecurity


Only humans have invented a social and economic system in which people may literally starve to death if they do not have access to enough money. (Food Revolution Network)


Lack of access to healthy food has perpetuated poverty and inequality. Low-income individuals do not get the nutrition they need to fuel their efforts to improve their lives. Adults who are food insecure may be at risk of developing negative health disparities such as obesity, and chronic diseases. Children face a higher risk of developmental problems including mental health challenges. Food insecurity is directly linked to poverty, with 35.3% of households having an income below the federal poverty line in 2021.


Food for thought:


-in 2019, the poverty level in Gloucester was 10%, compared to 9.4% for the state;

--In 2021, the food insecurity rate in Massachusetts is 7.2%;

--Massachusetts’ poverty rate is higher than the national average due to the high cost of housing (four in 10 low-income people in Massachusetts, both individuals and families, are homeless or pay over half their income for rent);

--nationally, 20% of Black/African American households and 16% of Latinx households were food insecure in 2021, compared to 7% of White households;

--66% of food insecure citizens must choose between food and medical care, 57% must chose between food and housing, 69% must choose between food and utilities;

--60% of older adults who are food insecure report symptoms of depression, resulting in a diminished capacity for self-care.


Doing The Doable: Here are some simple yet effective ways we can do to fight food insecurity in the Gloucester community.


1) Volunteer your time to Open Door: Many opportunities are available, ranging from fulfilling grocery orders to delivering meals to taking food orders, and the times are flexible.

2) Preparing lunches for the Action shelter provides a much-needed and appreciated

service. (Getting families and kids involved helps to reinforce community service.) Sign up on the sheet available in the parish hall. Contact: Carolyn Stewart

3) Contributing food items and other necessities to the food basket in church each week. One item a week builds a significant inventory to address food insecurity.


Did you know this about The Open Door? Since 1978, The Open Door has developed and implemented practical strategies to “connect people to good food, advocate on behalf of those in need, and engage in the work of building food security.” In 2022, The Open Door:


--prepared 63.6K meals, delivering 18.3K to those homebound (this includes medically tailored meals);

--distributed 3,378 holiday baskets;

--served 4,872 households on the North Shore (See brochure for more specifics);

--brought fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods, senior centers, schools, and the North Shore Community college campuses in Danvers and Lynn through its Mobile Market program;

--developed partnerships with local grocers, farmers, and fisheries resulting in 225,000 pounds of food rescued and prepared that would have otherwise gone to waste.


As Christians, one aspect of feeding our neighbors is a focus on the health needs of our community across an individual’s lifespan. This includes maternal and pre-natal care, youth and young adults, and seniors. Attaining health equity through food security, requires a collective effort, thus contributing to a “Beloved Healthy Community.”


Sources: Institute for Functional Medicine, U.S. Household Pulse, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Feeding America, The Open Door, Project Bread

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