Today's guest post is written by Matthew Brancolini, our Library Events Student Assistant. Matthew helped to create the "Food Desert" exhibit in the display case on the first floor of the library and we'll be tweeting out facts that Matthew discovered throughout the Food for Fines event starting on Nov. 23. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn more!
From November 23rd through December 18th, the William H. Hannon Library is hosting its semi-annual Food For Fines food drive where library patrons can pay their library fines by donating canned or non-perishable food to needy Los Angeles residents.
Food insecurity is a massive problem in the Los Angeles area. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when "consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year." As of 2015, Los Angeles has the largest food-insecure population in the United States, with 1.5 million Angelenos affected everyday. Additionally, Los Angeles has the highest rate of food insecure children, 1 in 4, of any city in the nation (Feeding America). Food from Hannon Library’s Food for Fines will help feed these Angelenos in need.
Donated food from this semester’s food drive will also address the detrimental health effects of food deserts. Food deserts are "rural towns and urban neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food" (USDA). These areas may have fast food restaurants or liquor stores that sell some healthy food options. However, food deserts lack major grocery stores or super markets.
Dense urban areas with high poverty rates and large minority populations, such as many sections of south, east, and central Los Angeles, are especially likely to contain food deserts. Living in a food desert is significantly associated with several diet-related illness such as obesity, type-two diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Food Empowerment Project). Donations from Food for Fines will provide food desert residents with healthy alternatives.
Food for Fines is a perfect opportunity for Hannon Library patrons to clear any library fines while helping those in need across the greater Los Angeles Area.