An estimated one in seven Kansas Citians, including 100,000 children, are hungry or facing the threat of hunger. That’s 350,000 people who are food insecure or have limited or uncertain access to food.
Hunger and food insecurity is a serious concern that exists throughout our community. It can affect a child’s ability to learn, an adult’s ability to focus on their job or daily duties, and a senior’s independence who may rely on access to food in order to remain in their homes. During the pandemic, food insecurity rates increased dramatically, and they continue remain high in our region. Recent research found that 60% of local households used a food pantry more than once a month in the summer of 2021.
Food insecurity takes a toll on more than our physical health. Studies show that hunger has a dramatic effect on a child’s ability to learn and grow, and children who are hungry don’t perform as well in school. Stress from worrying about where a family’s next meal will come from can cause mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Food insecurity also affects the economy. The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) calculated the local effect of food insecurity. HCF’s cost of food insecurity calculator estimates the amount of time and money lost due to food insecurity. For example, for every 1,000 Kansas City professionals in the field of education, an estimated 3,114 days and $942,006 of productivity are lost from food insecurity affecting 137 employees. HCF estimates that each year, food insecurity in the Kansas City area creates and estimated $1 billion dollars in added healthcare costs and more than 377,000 days of missed school.
As the area’s largest locally based health insurance provider, Blue KC is committed to fighting hunger in the region. A key component of this is to partner with local organizations to better provide access to nutritious food in our community so that all can have enough to thrive.
Support Local Hunger Relief Organizations
In 2018, Blue KC launched Well Stocked to support local partners in an effort to increase awareness of hunger issues facing our region. Since its launch, Blue KC has partnered with organizations to provide funding, volunteer support and hosted companywide food drives in support of their efforts in our community.
September is Hunger Action Month, and Blue KC is on a mission to help create a community where no one goes hungry. We are proud to partner with nonprofit organizations like Harvesters, Kanbe’s Markets, After the Harvest, Cultivate Kansas City, The Giving Grove, and Kansas City Community Gardens among others to increase access to healthy foods in our community.
Blue KC encourages everyone to get involved in the fight against food insecurity by supporting our local hunger relief organizations that play a vital role in providing food assistance. Together, we can fill plates throughout our community. Let’s #EndHungerKC!