Text Size

Red Flags: Five Signs To Visit Your Food Pantry

Hungry Poor little girl looks for food in an empty fridge at home.

Your local Food Pantry plays an important role in the community – and is there for you when you need help. Food insecurity is a pressing issue that affects millions of people around the world. It is common for individuals and families, even in strong communities, to struggle to put enough food on the table. In these situations, food pantries play a crucial role in providing nutrition for those in need.

Here are five signs that you or someone you know may benefit from visiting a food pantry:


Financial Instability

One of the most common signs that you may need to access a food pantry is financial instability. If you’re finding it difficult to cover basic living expenses like rent and groceries, it’s a clear indicator that your budget is stretched thin. Unexpected expenses, job loss, or medical bills can quickly lead to financial strain. A food pantry can help! They can be a sustainable source by providing access to free or low-cost food items. 

Skipping Meals

Skipping meals or cutting back on portion size due to financial constraints is a significant red flag. When individuals or families start sacrificing the quality and the quantity of their meals to make ends meet, it can lead to health problems. Purchasing food from fast food restaurants or the corner store to save money, can also be an indicator that support would be helpful. 

Nutrition deficiencies can decrease one’s overall well-being. Also, a struggle to learn and grow, especially for children, can cause problems from skipping meals and nutrition. A food pantry can supply much-needed food items to ensure that everyone in your household can count on regular meals. 

Running Low on Essentials

If you are consistently running low on essential items like bread, milk, vegetables and protein, it’s a red flag that help from a food pantry would fill in the gaps. Accessing a pantry can provide you with a variety of staple foods to keep your home healthy and your pantry stocked for well-rounded meals. 

Increased Borrowing

Another sign of food insecurity is an increase in relying on credit cards, loans, or borrowing money from friends. Using credit for essential items like food can lead to a mountain of debt and added stress. Food pantries offer a more sustainable solution. They can provide you with assistance and temporary relief whiteout adding to your financial burden. 

Declining Health

If you or someone you know is running into persistent health issues, inadequate nutrition can be the cause. Malnutrition and hunger can exacerbate existing health conditions and lead to knew ones. Maintaining an overall healthy diet is important, especially in times of stress. These community-supportive organizations that offer food pantry services can help to ensure you have access to food so that you and your household can stay healthy. 

Why visit a Food Pantry?

Food pantries are a valuable resource designed to support individuals and families facing food insecurity. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial instability, skipping meals, running low on essential groceries, relying on credit, or suffering from declining health, accessing this service can truly be a lifeline. You will be met with compassion, discretion and a sense of community. 

Compassion: Food pantries are there to provide temporary relief while work toward a more stable future. It’s helpful to remember that these organizations are staffed with compassionate volunteers who are dedicated to helping people in tough situations. 

Discreet: Food pantries can be easily accessed by a simple walk-in or at times a referral from a social service organization. The nice thing is you don’t have to share your personal information to access this support, but more often than not visiting a food pantry may connect you with even more services that may be helpful to a sustainable future. 

Community: Food pantries exist by the community for the community. You aren’t alone, and food pantries can show you that. Don’t hesitate to visit one if you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity. They can help to relieve the burden, keep your family healthy, and support you toward a brighter future. 

It is important to take care of yourself. Learn more about how your mental health is impacted by food insecurity. Read more.

About JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

The Squirrel Hill Food Pantry has been a cornerstone of JFCS Pittsburgh since 1999. It offers nutritious, fresh food for neighbors meeting income eligibility requirements in the 15217 zip code as well as kosher food for families who live in the Southwest PA region. For more information, visit jfcspgh.org/pantry or call (412) 421-2708.