I was recently involved in a research study with the University of Alabama-Birmingham that discussed food insecurity and other financial challenges faced by members of the CF community. Going into this study, I truly did not believe I had any food insecurities, especially as a pancreatic sufficient CF patient; boy oh boy was I wrong.
First, I learned that food insecurities encompass a broad range of issues such as: Do you have to wait on a paycheck before going grocery shopping?; Are you able to buy the food you want or need?; Are you able to buy nutritious food?; and Do you have transportation to get to the store? Second, when the interview began, I believed I did not have food insecurities because I am not part of the majority of CFers on high calorie diets needing to consume larger amounts of food. As my time with the interviewer progressed, I started to realize food insecurity stems from many different places.
I have experienced many times when I could not get groceries for my family of three because we had not been paid yet. There have also been times when I would have to drastically cut our grocery order to save on funds. This is food insecurity! There are many times we have not been able to buy certain meat, fruits, or vegetables due to the high cost. This is food insecurity! Have you ever had your parents pickup groceries because you didn’t have the funds, energy to go to the store, or transportation? Again, this is food insecurity!
Being a part of this study opened my eyes to how often we hear the topic of studies and go into it with a preconceived opinion. This study truly made me aware of struggles in my day to day life that I never realized as actual struggles. I always thought my basics were still being met, but alas my family qualifies as food insecure. And I know so many people have it worse than me. Thankfully for the most part, I am ok, and we have our basic needs met most of the time but we still struggle and it’s important to be aware of that struggle no matter the level. The struggles faced by members of the CF community need to be known so we can find ways to fix them.