Are Food Donations Helpful or Harmful?

June 19, 2016

 

 Usually during the cold winter months, public schools and non-for-profit organizations conduct a series of donations or driving to donate either food to the less fortunate. Taking a closer look in to the purpose of what donations are about, or rather, how donations are meaningful to someone, lead me to a question: Should be standards as to what donations can be contributable and what donations shouldn't be accepted or even deemed as safe? There is a difference when a person donates something that is not valuable and have no use for, versus, when a person donates something that can be utilized. 

 

         The goal of food banks, for example, was to "relieve hunger with whatever was at hand" but that doest mean that the food that are being donated are healthy. Granted, food banks fill up a lot of stomachs that would otherwise not be full. However, trying to serve the general public food (whether its donated or not), can still produce detrimental results if the food is unhealthy. In 2014, one-third of the 5.5 million households served by Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, reported that a household member had diabetes. Now there are new methods to address Type 2 diabetes among people who rely on food banks.  For example, $1 out of every $10 spent on health care nationwide goes to treating diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. “If there is one thing you need as a person with diabetes in order to control your blood sugar well, it’s stable access to food,” said Dr. Hilary K. Seligman, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2014, 17.4 million households didn't have stable access to food and many of them rely on food banks. Foods that are served at these food banks include: gallons of milk, sweet tea, almost-expired breads, canned goods, frozen meats and non-organic produce. There have been measures that have been implemented to try and not only feed the general public but to educate them as to what foods to consume that food banks donate. There is research that confirms the correlation between food insecurity and uncontrolled diabetes.

 

       "Diet is partly to blame: The inexpensive food favored by people stretching their dollars is often low in fiber and rich in carbohydrates, which contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Even when food bank patrons are aware they have diabetes — and many do know — they are not in a position to turn down free fare." 

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