Join us for programs that address a wide range of issues facing people in the District. We invite you to participate in creating a space for meaningful discussion, learning, and building understanding about the social justice issues facing our friends and neighbors.
Food insecurity, food deserts, and health outcomes in DC: what's the story?
Food insecurity is a term defined by the USDA to mean an uncertainty about access to nutritionally adequate and safe food for a household.
Very low food security occurs when one or more people in the household were hungry over the course of the year because they couldn’t afford enough food.
In many low-income communities, individuals and families have to travel long distances to find food that is both healthy and affordable. As a result, they purchase a large portion of their meals from local corner stores that are stocked with unhealthy options. When the only way to buy food is at a 7-Eleven or similar convenience store instead of a full grocery store, the area is considered a food desert.
Poverty and poor health reinforce one another in a vicious cycle; lack of access to fresh produce and other healthy foods reinforces high obesity rates among low-income communities. Obesity, in turns, leads to diabetes, heart disease, and several other expensive and debilitating health issues.
About 18,000 D.C. residents live in food deserts, where there are also high concentrations of children.
Of the 7 supermarkets in these struggling areas, less than half accept Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) payments.
Of the city's 43 full-service grocery stores, only two are located in Ward 4, four in Ward 7, and three in Ward 8. By contrast, Ward 3 - the highest-income Ward - has eleven full-service stores.
Many of our programs address the lack of access to safe, healthy food on a monthly basis.
Join our Hunger Action program at the EDCJCC and our primary program partner, DC Central Kitchen (check out DC Central Kitchen's Food Corners)