The Struggles of Teen Hunger
Hunger among young children, adults and seniors is discussed frequently—but what about hunger among the teen population?
It’s challenging to think about the thousands of teenagers in Ozarks Food Harvest’s service area that are struggling with food insecurity. Many of these teens have jobs to help support their families and are responsible for their younger siblings. They’re constantly pressured to make sure everyone has enough to eat—but they’re also hesitant to ask for help.
According to a study by Feeding America, “Teens fear stigma around hunger and actively hide it as much as they can.” This means that they avoid seeking out food assistance that is delivered publicly, and they shy away from sharing their struggles with people who aren’t close friends or family.
When it comes to acquiring food, teens tend to rely on relatives and close friends. They also focus on getting the largest volume of food for the lowest price, so heathier foods are often sacrificed to make the most of a limited budget.
Teen hunger is prevalent in our area, and Ozarks Food Harvest currently has programs in place to help meet this need. Several area high schools have food pantries where students are welcome to take what they need, and over the summer, some of our feeding sites have teen-specific hours and programming.
We are continuing to work on broadening our reach in this category and provide more meals for teens. Thank you for your commitment to ensuring everyone in the Ozarks—from babies to seniors—can get enough to eat.