Do you know the difference between hunger and food insecurity? Wondering what you can do in your community to lend a helping hand to people in need? My guest this week is Food Dignity advocate and dietitian, Clancy Harrison, MS, RDN. She’s on a mission to remove the stigma associated with food stamps, WIC, and other food assistance programs (she sees these programs as a hand “up” versus a hand “out”) and improve the quality of the food provided.
Clancy states things this way: “I fight childhood hunger in the United States every day. There are 12.7 million children struggling to find their next meal, and nearly 40% of the people who qualify for food assistance don’t utilize the programs because of the stigma associated with government aide. I believe we can win the war on hunger by reducing the stigma and shame associated with food assistance.”
“58% of people who are food insecure live above the poverty rate.”
-Clancy Harrison, MS, RDN
As a TEDx speaker, registered dietitian, and food dignity crusader, Clancy Harrison challenges the way food insecurity is approached and is transforming the food culture in the United States.
Clancy a world-class expert who speaks to over 100,000 experts each year. She is the creator and consultant of Food Dignity, a strategic program for organizations who want to shift how they approach health and wellness by making food access a priority for their clients. She saves the lives of thousands of people through her work with healthcare professionals, non-profit organizations, corporations, and universities.
Currently, Clancy is an Ambassador of the National Dairy Council, the President of the Al Beech West Side Food Pantry, and teaches at the Pennsylvania State University. She is the founder of multiple grassroots anti-hunger projects and is a lead researcher and co-author of the forthcoming Hunger Corporate Guidebook for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Listen to Clancy’s TEDx talk: The Shocking Truth About Food Insecurity
- Clancy Harrison, MS, RDN shares her mission to bust the stigma surrounding food assistance programs.
- Clancy defines hunger as something everyone can feel at any time when you don’t have enough food and defines food insecurity as not having enough food to curb the hunger, or you’re eating poor quality food choices that lack nutritional value.
- Liz and Clancy discuss the health/psychological consequences of not having enough to eat and Clancy asks you to imagine putting your child to bed hungry and how stressful it would be to worry every day how you’ll feed your child.
- Psychosocial feelings associated with not eating enough nutritional food particularly affect children negatively and may even prevent them from participating in sports or school activities.
- 58% of people who are food insecure live above the poverty rate.
- The majority of people who use food stamps are the working poor.
- Clancy talks about working at a food pantry and how it enabled her to talk to people who were food insecure and discover how embarrassed they often feel when accepting food assistance.
- Clancy discussed how volunteers at the food pantry were reluctant to take extra food and how they eventually accepted food and began sharing recipes with one another.
- Liz shares about a dietitian in Cincinnati named Lisa Andrews who won a $10,000.00 grant to set up 10 mini food pantries around the city. The program is called, the People’s Pantry Cincy.
- In 2017, one in five families in the US did not have enough food and one in three chronically ill adults have to choose between food, medicine or both.
- Clancy and Liz discuss whose responsibility it is to take care of those who are food insecure.
- Obese and food insecure? Clancy says they do co-exist because people may be purchasing poor quality food or may be sedentary because they can’t afford to join a gym, etc.
- Clancy suggests taking plastic grocery bags to food pantries so they can use them to distribute food. She also suggests donating canned foods with flip-top cans so they’re easy to open.
Here is how YOU can get involved: Examples of food assistance volunteer opportunities in communities across the U.S.
> Lisa Andrews is a dietitian in Cincinnati who won a grant to put Mini Food Pantries in food deserts throughout the city. Learn more about the People’s Pantry Cincy here: Peoples Pantry Cincy on Facebook or read more here: Peoples Pantry
> Podcast Posse member, Yvonne C. is involved with a program called, Community Food Rescue in Montgomery County, Maryland. Their motto is, Donate, Deliver, Feed. They get surplus food delivered to places that can use it. The goal is to help feed more and waste less.
> Lex Eat Together in Lexington, MA: I volunteer once a month for this program. Volunteers come together to provide a weekly meal in a setting which respects privacy and dignity. Food is purchased, and some of it is donated through a program called Food Link (a food rescue organization). Volunteers cook, serve, and clean up after the meal, which takes place in a local church. Anywhere from 50 – 70 people enjoy the meal together. Food Link
My email: [email protected]
Get Clancy’s free handout: 3 Ways to I.G.N.I.T.E. a culture of Food Dignity
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