Nutritious food and a balanced diet are key elements for a healthy life. However, for many who struggle just to keep food on the table, the food options available may not include the fruits and vegetables found in a balanced diet.
These are the people in our society who are food insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to enough food for an active and healthy life.
In Citrus County, 15 percent of the population, or more than 1 in 6 county residents, do not have the household income to buy adequate food. Although people who are out of work or living in extreme poverty are more likely to be food insecure, a federal study showed that 58 percent of those who are food insecure have household incomes above the federal poverty level.
These are what are called ALICE households, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. These are families who work, but cannot meet their basic needs, such as food, childcare, housing, health and transportation.
Food price inflation has disproportionately affected these households, making it difficult, if not impossible, to buy fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods on a regular basis.
Local groups like New Church Without Walls and the Community Food Bank work year-round to help these people get nutritious food, and during the holidays they team up with other community partners for special events like the Let’s Feed Citrus holiday outreach events.
One of those events is the annual Turkey and Fixin raffle at the Citrus County Fairgrounds, followed by the annual December 17 Christmas celebration for the homeless and those in need at Hernando Beach Park. Beginning at noon on Thanksgiving Day, New Church Without Walls, Grace Pointe Church in Hernando and God’s Shed of Love will serve a hot meal to go and distribute personal care items and other essentials to people in the homeless or needy area. at Hernando Beach Park in Hernando.
While these programs involve many people, one person who has been a leader in many feeding programs is Reverend Doug Alexander, pastor of the New Church Without Walls. For many years, she has worked tirelessly to provide nutritious food to the residents of Citrus County through regular food giveaways and by helping to sponsor these and many other events that bring attention to food insecurity and provide needed nutrition to those in need. they need
Dedicated volunteers make volunteer programs work, and it takes dedicated leadership to keep them working. Citrus County is fortunate to have many willing volunteers and many dedicated leaders involved in volunteer activities.