As one in six Americans struggle with hunger, food insecurity in the US is clearly an enormous problem. Trying to combat it, we have seen initiatives such as Food Cowboy matching up food suppliers with local non-profits, who will take the food they’re throwing away. Tackling the problem in a different way is Minneapolis-based charity Matter, in partnership with Good in the ‘Hood, who are using the city’s social service infrastructure — including the police department — to distribute healthy food boxes to those in need.
The project aims to reduce hunger and obesity: with both conditions being understood as symptoms of the same poverty. Studies have found that obesity rates are 145 percent higher in poor counties, which heightens the risk of diseases such as diabetes. The initiative aims to provide healthy food as well as education by distributing boxes containing nutritional shelf-ready foodstuffs such as cereal bars, fruit and oatmeal, alongside healthy eating tips.
The local police are often the first to see signs of homelessness and malnutrition within the communities they are patrolling and as such are in a unique position to respond to those in need. Matter has also partnered with a local hospital and various schools.
Could this initiative work in other parts of the US?