Food insecurity impacts tens of thousands of New Yorkers daily. Wondering when your next meal will come from is not only an issue that the homeless population faces. Instead, it’s an issue in homes throughout the city. And while food programs provide a lot of relief to the individuals and families who participate in them, it’s clear that there is so much more work to do.
Creating more food security isn’t always about making more money. Some people make plenty of money but lose it through gambling, drugs, and alcohol dependency issues. Then there is the issue of food deserts, even here in the city, which makes it hard to get fresh foods at an affordable price. If we want more food security in NYC, it’s vital to address all the issues that impact a community’s ability to access food. NYC food programs may be able to play a role in helping the people they serve get the help and the food they need most. Here are some thoughts for NYC food programs when it comes to alcohol abuse and food insecurity:
The Link Between Food Insecurity and Alcohol Abuse
Researchers are just now studying the impacts of alcohol abuse on food security. In homes where there is more alcohol use, there are more likely to be higher levels of insecurity when it comes to food. People who are addicted to alcohol will spend their last dollar on one more drink while their cupboards sit bare. This doesn’t bode well for children in these homes who are often the ones most impacted by food insecurity.
During the school year, many of these children receive low-cost or free lunches, but that doesn’t mean they will get to eat dinner or that they will have breakfast the next morning. The level of fear and anxiety that is placed on these children can make it more difficult for them to learn and grow. There is clearly a link between food insecurity and addiction.
Can Food Programs Help People Overcome Addiction?
While food programs are not designed to help people overcome addiction, they do play an important role in the community. They offer a source of nutrition for people who may not have easy access to stores. Programs like WIC and food stamps are important, but food banks are also a vital part of meeting community food needs. In NYC, these food programs are one of the most consistent sources of help that people receive.
The benefit goes beyond just filling bellies. Children who receive this assistance are more likely to have better health and educational outcomes. And adults who receive food assistance experience less stress overall. These food programs can serve as a connecting point to help people with alcohol addiction find resources that aid them in their recovery journey. They can connect them to mental health resources and even rehab clinics if needed.
Using Rehab Programs to Improve Food Security
Logically, it makes sense that rehab programs can improve food security for individuals and families who experience lack as a result of addiction. But knowing how to pay for rehab when you already experience lack can be a source of stress and difficulty. If you have insurance, you can look for options that take your plan. For instance, using NYShip for alcohol treatment can get you through the hardest phase of detoxing and set you up for long-term success. During treatment, some programs can help you learn life skills like budgeting, meal planning, and even how to reduce food waste in your home. These life skills can translate into greater levels of food security for you and your family.
Rehab is a great way to improve food security because it also frees up finances to be used for necessities like food instead of for buying alcohol. From the standpoint of food programs here in NYC, being able to share this information with clients who need it can make a tremendous difference. When you understand the factors, like alcohol addiction, that impact food security, you can be armed with more knowledge and information. While most of these programs rely on volunteers, they can all easily be trained on ways to share this information on overcoming addiction with those who need it the most.