Food insecurity is not knowing where your next meal will come from or not having the financial resources to provide adequate food for your family. The prevalence of food insecurity is widely spread throughout the U.S., and according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it affects almost 12% of the nation’s population. While these numbers vary from year to year, that leaves an estimated 15 million people wondering where their next meal will come from.
Residents at Mercy Village, a Mercy Housing property in Joplin, MO, are not immune to the issue of food insecurity and one Resident Services Coordinator has been going above and beyond to ensure everyone who needs food has access to it.
Christine has been working at Mercy Village, a 65-apartment property for seniors, for the last three years helping coordinate activities and connecting residents with valuable resources available within the community. After being contacted by several residents who were running out of food before the end of the month, Christine reached out to the Salvation Army for help. The Salvation Army case manager told Christine about an income-based food box program for seniors that would provide residents with a box of food each month at no cost. With the help of the case manager, Christine started enrolling eligible residents into the program and delivering boxes to their apartments.
“Once I saw how big and heavy the boxes were, I knew there was no way seniors could go pick them up on their own. So, I go to the Salvation Army and will load them in my car and deliver them to each of the residents at Mercy Village. We are now up to 26 boxes that I pick-up and deliver each month.”
Food boxes include a variety of non-perishable food items like; juice, soup, pasta, sauces, rice, beans, crackers, peanut butter, and lots of canned vegetables. Additionally, boxes can include meat, cereal, milk, eggs, bread, and snack cakes. These extra food items give residents peace of mind knowing they will never completely run out of food and that they are part of a larger community who cares.
“I found that having and relying on this box each month will give the residents hope that they are not alone and there are people that will help them. Since they are on a limited income, they can plan accordingly.”
Currently, there is almost a six-month waiting list in Joplin for the food box program. To help eliminate any additional waiting, Christine has started to include the Salvation Army application form in her new move-in packets so everyone who is eligible can take part in this amazing service.
At the end of the day, Christine just wants to make a difference and feels fortunate she can help out the residents of Mercy Village.
“It means the world to me that I am able to help them in this very small way and that we are able to utilize such a great service! And they are very grateful that I am able to do that for them!”