WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Hunger and food insecurity exists in every community in America. Wichita and many other communities see this problem with food deserts, an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.

September is Hunger Action Month, when the Feeding America network and the public come together to raise awareness of the problem of food insecurity in America.

(Courtesy: Feeding America)

Locally, the Kansas Food Bank is a part of the Feeding America network. Brian Walker, president and CEO of the Kansas Food Bank, talked Friday about what citizens can do to help.

“Here in our community, you can go to kansasfoodbank.org, we have a volunteer link you can click on we can get you signed up to volunteer,” Walker said. “There’s a link there if you want to do a food drive. you can collect food or you can donate funds and we’ll use those funds to purchase food.”

Walker said the Kansas Food Bank serves 85 of Kansas’s 105 counties, and there are two other Feeding America food banks that cover the other 20 counties.

Feeding America says hunger affects every community in the United States, but rural communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted.

“For many, a daily meal is a simple choice of what to eat,” a release from Feeding America reads. “But for people facing hunger, a daily meal poses a very different type of choice. It’s often an impossible choice between food and other basic needs, such as electricity, childcare or medicine.”

(Courtesy: Feeding America)

Walker said rising inflation has exacerbated the problem of food insecurity.

“When you go to the grocery store and we see these inflated prices, people that are struggling to put food on the table that hurts them even worse than someone who is not struggling,” Walker said. “None of us like the higher prices, of course, and it affects all of us, but it really affects them.”

Walker called hunger a “hidden” issue, and said it can affect anyone.

“People don’t talk about it,” Walker said. “So you don’t know, but it’s probably the person sitting next to your child in class, it could be your co worker, you just don’t know.”

In Jan. 2022, the Wichita City Council voted in favor of a food master plan to address the nearly 100,000 Wichitans that live in a food desert.

The main goals of the Master Food Plan are to improve access to healthy food for everyone and increase local food production. Within 10 years, the hope is Wichita will be a healthier place to live.

Local communities have also done their part to address food insecurities in Wichita. In April, Mead Middle School unveiled a community garden, a project put together by students.

If you’d like to donate or volunteer, or if you need to find assistance yourself, you can find information by clicking here.