This past weekend, several church members and friends visited the Chicago Food Depository in a day of service and in honor of St. Luke’s current Eco-Justice campaign.
In the past, food security and environmental justice were thought to be separate issues lying on different planes. But the disconnect between where our food is grown and where people live has made hunger in Chicago and cities across America much more dire.
Healthy and nutritious foods that are grown without pesticides are often too expensive to those living in poverty. Microwave dinners, canned foods and fast food are more accessible and cheaper for single-parent households who often have to work more than 1 job to put any food on the table. Research shows that there are hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans living in “food deserts”; places where the poverty rate is 20% and where at least 1/3 of the community lives a mile or more from a grocery store.
1 out of 6 adults in Chicago visit a food bank regularly and 1 out of 5 children are hungry in our city every day.
What’s more, the industrialized food system, producing the bulk of the food available for consumption is also having devastating effects on the environment and our health. Globally, the food sector is the number one contributor of carbon emissions.
But, there is hope! Organizations such as the Chicago Food Depository are making healthy food more accessible to Chicago residents living in poverty. Last year, the Food Depository distributed nearly 72 million pounds of food, 37% of which was fresh produce. The group that volunteered on Saturday alone packaged over 6,000 pounds of food to be delivered to over 700 food banks across the city!
Other organizations such as aquaponics farms, urban composting and mobile farmers markets are also aiding the efforts in bringing more sustainable and locally sourced food to more communities in Chicago.
Food justice is Eco-justice is Social Justice. St. Luke’s is proud to take part in volunteering activities such as these to make our community and our world a better place.
Keep a look out for more volunteering opportunities over the next few months such as working at the Kimball Avenue Community Garden this Saturday November 4th! Reach out to Callie Mabry for info.