Ever been to Chicago? Flown through O’Hare or Midway Airports? Watched a Cubs game? Chicago is a big place. Three million people call it home.
What if those three million people suddenly couldn’t get any food? Couldn’t buy groceries or feed their families? America would pitch in to help. Companies, non-profit groups, community organizations and churches would jump in and help those families get everything they needed. And that’s the way it should be.
Why talk about food in a marriage article? A 2020 Household Pulse Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 9% of families in our nation — about three million people — can’t afford to feed their families.
The surprising connection between food and marriage
While the survey reflects job losses and financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it also shows that roughly three million people regularly struggle to feed their families each week. The survey shows who struggles the most. Nearly 20% of single-parent families (unmarried, with children) shared they didn’t have enough food to eat in their household.
It’s no surprise to learn that married couples with no children fared better than others. Married couples with children also experienced fewer instances of hunger or food insecurity (inability to afford necessary foods in the near future) than others. The Institute for Family Studies finds that “Compared with unmarried adults, married adults overall are better off financially and they are also more likely to be college educated. … Marriage clearly plays an important role in protecting children and families from hunger. … Moreover, children living with married parents also tend to have better eating habits.”
Food, marriage and ministry
While it might be surprising to know that nearly 10% of families don’t know whether they can feed their family next week, it’s no surprise that families are struggling. The good news is that we can help. And that helping those families is important to God.
God has a heart for the vulnerable and fatherless. James 1:27 reminds us that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Here’s an opportunity to share God’s heart. Maybe it’s something you and your spouse can consider as a personal ministry. Serving as a couple can bring you closer together. And, it’s easy to help out. As easy as sharing food with a neighbor or giving a gift card to a struggling family in your church.
While we may not be able to feed a Chicago-sized crowd all at once (or even 5,000), we can — together with our spouses — help feed one family at a time, and in so doing, point others to Jesus.