Hope Begins with Food Security

Food insecurity is a major challenge in America today, as almost one in five children lives in poverty. The effects of limited food access can break bonds within families and have long-term negative impacts on children’s emotional, mental and bodily health.

Through the Family First philanthropy effort, Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes has partnered with Gift of Hope, a non-profit providing essentials and pathways to independence for families in southern Taney County, Missouri.

Jennifer Costello, Director of Gift of Hope, talked to host Daniel Litwin about issues surrounding food insecurity and how we can contribute to solving the problem. Despite being a growing tourist destination, Taney County has many low-wage and seasonal jobs that have led to a high poverty rate, with 75% of children relying on free or reduced lunch at their schools.

“We’re always trying to figure out ways to get the kids what they need, and not just food. They need blankets, they need clothes, they need hygiene products,” Costello said. Gift of Hope works closely with schools in Taney County to identify needs and target giving efforts.

Food insecurity can have a domino effect on the lives of children, impacting their school attendance, attention span, how often they get sick and their self-esteem in ways that can be devastating.

“We try, through a lot of programs, to inspire them and show them that there is a different route that they can take. That they have potential, and there are options beside staying in poverty.”

How can you get involved? Gift of Hope is hosting its eighth annual Charity Golf Classic and Auction on Sept. 14 in Taney County. Visit giftofhopeinc.org for more information.

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