News > Got Milk? No, I Have Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is common for low-wage, economically-fragile workers and typically occurs near the end of a pay period or when payment of an unanticipated expense is unavoidable.
People with food insecurity are uncertain about the availability of food for themselves and other people for whom they are responsible. Food deprivation (otherwise known as hunger) occurs when the cost for basic groceries exceeds available funds.
Experiencing food insecurity and food deprivation is frustrating and humiliating for low-wage, economically-fragile workers. They are full-time, dedicated employees who work all day, go home, and open a refrigerator that is mostly empty due to lack of funds for food.
How do you know if your colleagues are food insecure? Do a test. Purchase some commonly used grocery items at a popular grocery store. Set them on a counter top where you might usually see donuts. Leave the grocery store bags there and write a note that says “help yourself.” If the food disappears in a few days, you have food insecurity among your team.
Commonly needed items are peanut butter, canned chicken and tuna, canned soup, canned fruits and vegetables, grain products and pasta, and macaroni and cheese mixes.
What can you do if the test results are positive for food insecurity? It is not important to identify who is food insecure. There is no need to take over and solve this problem because your intervention can be viewed as interference.
Consider a variety of options that can supplement food in the home. The people who need it, need a dignified way to get it.
Ways to help without interfering:
1. Provide healthy breakfast items and healthy snacks.
2. Order extra pizza to ensure that there are left overs.
3. Have a supply of carryout containers for people to use.
4. Raffle grocery store gift cards at company functions.
In our next blog entry, “Influencing Economically Fragile People,” we shed light on a huge issue impacting productivity and turnover that stems from being a low-wage, economically-fragile worker.
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