Advocacy: A Primer on Food Insecurity

Did you know that the Student Support Network has a new Advocacy Committee? Our first meeting will be on Monday, November 22 at 7:30 and we’d love for you to join us! One of our goals is to expand access to healthy food and other basic necessities that children and adolescents need to grow and thrive.

People experiencing food insecurity may have to skip meals or eat less than they need. (USDA) The Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey/Youth Tobacco Survey measures food insecurity by asking students if they are worried that their food would run out before their family got money to buy more, and/or if the food their family bought did not last. While no student should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, this survey found that 1 in every 4 secondary school students in Maryland experience food insecurity. (Source) The risk is even higher for some groups of students: 1 in 3 Black, Hispanic, and Latino students and 1 in 2 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students experience food insecurity. (Source)

Among secondary school students in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), about 30% experience food insecurity. (Source) While these numbers are troubling enough, the survey also shows how food insecurity can negatively impact a student’s physical and mental health. Food insecure high school students in BCPS are more likely to be overweight, use tobacco, be diagnosed with depression, and have had a physical fight at school. (Source) More than half of all food insecure middle school students in BCPS have seriously considered suicide — a shocking and disturbing statistic. (Source)

There are solutions which have been proven to eliminate food insecurity, and we need your help to advocate for these solutions and for our students! Click here for more information on the new Advocacy Committee and to sign up to join us for our first meeting on Monday, November 22 at 7:30pm.