In 2003, the Psi Chi National Council voted to approve food drives as a national service project for Psi Chi chapters. This service project provides a perfect opportunity for Psi Chi chapters to serve its local community by gathering food for a local organization or other population.
When most Americans think of food, it is thought of in the context of something readily available and something that is advertised regularly as being just a car ride away. When we think of problems associated with food, it is usually eating regulation and weight loss that comes to mind. Psychologists write about dysfunctional eating, stress-induced eating, consumer psychology, etc. It is less likely that psychologists or psychology majors focus on the subjects of semi-starvation and food insecurity. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1999), 10.1% of households in the United States experience "food insecurity." That is, there are approximately 31 million Americans who are "uncertain of having or unable to acquire adequate food sufficient to meet basic needs."
Studies show that food insecurity can be related to developmental problems (Gettner, 1995) and to functional impairment (Lee and Frongillo, 2001). Quite clearly, hunger is still a very significant problem in the United States. Among the households that are classified as food insecure, it is estimated that 3.7 million Americans regularly experience serious hunger. In this context, the incidence of food insecurity is significantly above the national average in eleven states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, plus, the District of Columbia (USDA, 1996-1998 Report). Hunger is most prevalent in Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and the District of Columbia (USDA, 1996-1998 Report).
In reading this, you might now be saying, "So, what does all of this have to do with Psi Chi?" Well, actually, it has a lot to do with the benefits of service to other human beings. It also relates very strongly to the pledges that Psi Chi members take upon induction into the organization. As students of psychology, all of us should be focused in some way upon improving the human condition.