November 21, 2019

Do is very significant under their circumstances. Even though

Do
food programs help low-income undocumented families economically? As previously
mentioned in my second paper focusing on the problems and needs of the UCSD Student-Run
Free Clinic; my field placements’ main issue among patients is that they are
low-income and/or undocumented. Although there is no interventions or programs that
can solve this problem completely, we offer to help them through the process of
applying for food programs, like SNAP, or referring them to our legal clinic to
have a professional help them with their legal status and guide them. A very
important and helpful program we have that will take focus in this paper is
Feeding San Diego. This program is a non-profit organization that provides San
Diegans who are food insecure with healthy products in hope of ending poverty
and promoting healthy eating (Feeding San
Diego, 2017). Patients at the clinic are each given one to two bags of food
to take home twice every month, which many times means every time an individual
has an appointment.

            Focusing on the fact that many
patients are undocumented, that leads to them not being able to find stable or
well 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 be
even higher now. Throughout my time at the clinic this semester, I have realized
how much this food pantry program has helped the patients. Not only is it clear
that this is a big help for these families, but patients express their gratitude
and are always very thankful to receive these bags. I have come across
individuals who tell me that thanks to this program, they feel better knowing
they don’t have to worry about those hours they had to miss from work to come
to the clinic for their appointments. A couple of hours at work may not seem
like a big a deal but is very significant under their circumstances. Even though
we can’t completely end poverty among our patients, we are able to give them a
small help to take some weight off their shoulders. For many, if not most of
the patients, receiving free healthy food for their homes means being able to
put some money away that can go towards rent which means they don’t have to
worry about ending up on the streets. A little extra money may also go to their
water and electricity bill and many times even basic necessities for their
children and families.

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Aside from not having to worry
about money towards food, they are also being given healthy food choices that won’t
interfere with their health. A portion of the patients have health issues, like
diabetes 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 make
appointments with as well as a nutrition class where they are given recipes for
dishes they can make based on the foods they are given in the bags from Feeding
San Diego. Low-income families have enough stress when they have families of
two to three children; adding on the fact that most of them are undocumented adds
to their worries. Constantly thinking about the fact that if something were to
happen and they need urgent care, they fear the expenses as well as their legal
status. Many people aren’t well informed and are scared of releasing personal
information to something as simple as a hospital. Additionally, diabetes is the
the 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 eat
enough amounts of food while still being healthy. These are all stressors that
add on to their families that in many occasions lead to negative family
dynamics and children reflecting them in their school performance.

A study done in 1997 that focuses
on understanding the food choices among low-income families shows that very few
low-income households meet the “Dietary Guidelines
for American recommendations for fat and saturated fat” (Michaels and
Fleming, 1997). This study was done by conducting surveys through a one year
span in a total of 28 focus groups in six different cities. This article
describes some of the participants expressing their difficulties. Some women
reveal that their traditions, family members’ preferences and most importantly
lack of time limit them and their ability to be able to provide healthy foods
for their children and families. The article talks about the study design and
what populations were targeted. Out of the 28 groups that were used throughout
this study, there were 9 White non-Hispanic, 11 African Americans and 8
Hispanics. They focused in on mainly women with children that received food
stamps as well as some families with men. This study used individuals who
worked outside of the home as well as people who don’t. They also incorporated people
from urban and suburban places and better test their study. One of the very
important points in this study is the fact that women admit to time and money
being some of the main reasons that healthy foods haven’t been a priority. Most
low-income families have a single parent working two to three jobs or sometimes
even both parents taking on two jobs each to make ends meet and there’s no time
to make healthy foods.

To connect this information and
hypothesis accurately, Feeding America did a study according to a 2009 census
survey. As they analyzed the census survey and comparing to families and
children receiving food and services from Feeding America, out of the 14
million children in the U.S. that they helped in 2009, they noticed a big
difference in those who are in poverty level receiving help from them and those
who weren’t (Michael Martinez-Schiferl and Sheila R. Zedlewski, 2009). This
article also shows the fact that most of the people receiving help from Feeding
America and other food programs are either African American, Hispanic and
Caucasian. They found that children learn to make better and healthier food
choices in their daily life and in school when receiving help from healthy
based food programs.

 

The UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic’s
purpose is to help families and individuals that are low-income and provide them
with free services. Overall, the clinic itself becomes a program that addresses
the problem existing, low-income and undocumented patients. The clinic is free
and helps patients by paying for their medication and services. Many patients
have expressed that the fact that they don’t have to worry about paying for
medication is a worry and weight lifted off their shoulders.

Feeding San Diego has been one of
the biggest helps and support to the clinic’s patients. Being able to receive a
healthy selection of foods twice a month is much more than helping with food
insecurity. Being undocumented in this country is very hard and adds a bigger
stress in a family. This adds difficulty in finding stable and well payed jobs
which 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 small
apartment of two rooms and still paying rent that isn’t worth the space. These
stressors are things that affect not only patients’ health, but marriages and
most importantly the children. The fact that there are food programs and
non-profit organizations that are able to reach out to these families does so
much more than we think and I definitely think this is beneficial to the agency
and everywhere around the world.

 

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