NewsCovering America

Actions

LGBTQ people more likely to face food insecurity

LGBTQ+ Pride
Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 11:36:07-04

More than 34 million people in the United States, including nine million children, are currently food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Data shows the LGBTQ community is disproportionately affected.

Recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau found that food insufficiency was over one and a half times more common among members of the LGBTQ community than in non-LGBTQ people.

"When they get the box and say 'wow, this is a lot,' it feeds my soul," said Laura Choate, a food pantry director for 15 years. Choate is also a lesbian and has noticed the disparity. Because of this, she says her food pantry is a place where all people can find acceptance and get what they need. "Nobody bats an eye if they come in a wig or whatever."

Choate also said that she wants all LGBTQ people to know that it does get better and there is help available. Her food pantry is one of 200 working with the Feeding America organization.

Feeding America Vice President of Research, Emily Engelhard, says there are ways people can take action to fight the issue.

"Our goal is to address food insecurity, including for people who are at the most vulnerable," said Engelhard. "Volunteering is always a huge thing that you can do for the pantries in your community. And then when volunteering, practicing affirming approaches to the people that we're interacting with. So, not assuming pronouns, you know, wearing a rainbow flag."

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program, is another way people can get money for things like groceries.

In Kern County, food insecurity is a major issue. According to data collected by Feeding America, there are about 61,000 kids in the county living with food insecurity. That's approximately 24 percent of the youth in the community. Of that group, about 3 quarters are eligible for federal nutrition programs.

A local resource available for families in need is the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK). CAPK's food bank is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.