Dofood programs help low-income undocumented families economically? As previouslymentioned in my second paper focusing on the problems and needs of the UCSD Student-RunFree Clinic; my field placements’ main issue among patients is that they arelow-income and/or undocumented. Although there is no interventions or programs thatcan solve this problem completely, we offer to help them through the process ofapplying for food programs, like SNAP, or referring them to our legal clinic tohave a professional help them with their legal status and guide them. A veryimportant and helpful program we have that will take focus in this paper isFeeding San Diego. This program is a non-profit organization that provides SanDiegans who are food insecure with healthy products in hope of ending povertyand promoting healthy eating (Feeding SanDiego, 2017). Patients at the clinic are each given one to two bags of foodto take home twice every month, which many times means every time an individualhas an appointment. Focusing on the fact that manypatients are undocumented, that leads to them not being able to find stable orwell payed jobs which brings them to be at a poverty level.
In August of 2016,a study was done that shows that “the national poverty rate is 14.8 percent,while immigrants as a group have a poverty rate of 30 percent” (Bread for the World, 2016) and may even beeven higher now. Throughout my time at the clinic this semester, I have realizedhow much this food pantry program has helped the patients.
Not only is it clearthat this is a big help for these families, but patients express their gratitudeand are always very thankful to receive these bags. I have come acrossindividuals who tell me that thanks to this program, they feel better knowingthey don’t have to worry about those hours they had to miss from work to cometo the clinic for their appointments. A couple of hours at work may not seemlike a big a deal but is very significant under their circumstances. Even thoughwe can’t completely end poverty among our patients, we are able to give them asmall help to take some weight off their shoulders. For many, if not most ofthe patients, receiving free healthy food for their homes means being able toput some money away that can go towards rent which means they don’t have toworry about ending up on the streets. A little extra money may also go to theirwater and electricity bill and many times even basic necessities for theirchildren and families.
Aside from not having to worryabout money towards food, they are also being given healthy food choices that won’tinterfere with their health. A portion of the patients have health issues, likediabetes and cholesterol that means they need to choose what they eat wisely.As a helpful tool for them, we have a nutritionist with who they can makeappointments with as well as a nutrition class where they are given recipes fordishes they can make based on the foods they are given in the bags from FeedingSan Diego. Low-income families have enough stress when they have families oftwo to three children; adding on the fact that most of them are undocumented addsto their worries. Constantly thinking about the fact that if something were tohappen and they need urgent care, they fear the expenses as well as their legalstatus. Many people aren’t well informed and are scared of releasing personalinformation to something as simple as a hospital.
Additionally, diabetes is thethe most common health issue our patients at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic.This illness needs careful attention and patients are often being told to eatenough amounts of food while still being healthy. These are all stressors thatadd on to their families that in many occasions lead to negative familydynamics and children reflecting them in their school performance.A study done in 1997 that focuseson understanding the food choices among low-income families shows that very fewlow-income households meet the “Dietary Guidelinesfor American recommendations for fat and saturated fat” (Michaels andFleming, 1997). This study was done by conducting surveys through a one yearspan in a total of 28 focus groups in six different cities.
This articledescribes some of the participants expressing their difficulties. Some womenreveal that their traditions, family members’ preferences and most importantlylack of time limit them and their ability to be able to provide healthy foodsfor their children and families. The article talks about the study design andwhat populations were targeted. Out of the 28 groups that were used throughoutthis study, there were 9 White non-Hispanic, 11 African Americans and 8Hispanics. They focused in on mainly women with children that received foodstamps as well as some families with men. This study used individuals whoworked outside of the home as well as people who don’t. They also incorporated peoplefrom urban and suburban places and better test their study.
One of the veryimportant points in this study is the fact that women admit to time and moneybeing some of the main reasons that healthy foods haven’t been a priority. Mostlow-income families have a single parent working two to three jobs or sometimeseven both parents taking on two jobs each to make ends meet and there’s no timeto make healthy foods. To connect this information andhypothesis accurately, Feeding America did a study according to a 2009 censussurvey. As they analyzed the census survey and comparing to families andchildren receiving food and services from Feeding America, out of the 14million children in the U.S.
that they helped in 2009, they noticed a bigdifference in those who are in poverty level receiving help from them and thosewho weren’t (Michael Martinez-Schiferl and Sheila R. Zedlewski, 2009). Thisarticle also shows the fact that most of the people receiving help from FeedingAmerica and other food programs are either African American, Hispanic andCaucasian. They found that children learn to make better and healthier foodchoices in their daily life and in school when receiving help from healthybased food programs. The UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic’spurpose is to help families and individuals that are low-income and provide themwith free services.
Overall, the clinic itself becomes a program that addressesthe problem existing, low-income and undocumented patients. The clinic is freeand helps patients by paying for their medication and services. Many patientshave expressed that the fact that they don’t have to worry about paying formedication is a worry and weight lifted off their shoulders.Feeding San Diego has been one ofthe biggest helps and support to the clinic’s patients. Being able to receive ahealthy selection of foods twice a month is much more than helping with foodinsecurity. Being undocumented in this country is very hard and adds a biggerstress in a family. This adds difficulty in finding stable and well payed jobswhich leads to very little income entering a home for a family of minimum four.
Most patients at the clinic find the need to squeezing everyone in a smallapartment of two rooms and still paying rent that isn’t worth the space. Thesestressors are things that affect not only patients’ health, but marriages andmost importantly the children. The fact that there are food programs andnon-profit organizations that are able to reach out to these families does somuch more than we think and I definitely think this is beneficial to the agencyand everywhere around the world.