A Passion for Fighting Food Insecurity Grows from Experience with Hyperinsulinism

In our area of northern New Jersey, the Fourth of July parade is a lively, annual festival showcasing the work of various organizations; pre-schools and daycares, musical ensembles, sports teams, religious organizations, and volunteer groups will proudly march with their banners in-hand to share their passion with the community. It is a great small city American parade – a true celebration of America’s democratic spirit. This year was no different; my husband Mark and I watched from the crowd as our son Ben marched with Toni’s Kitchen, where he volunteers.

Ben has been involved with Toni’s kitchen since 2022 and had previously volunteered with Human Needs Food Pantry in 2019-2020; he has built a strong community through his volunteer work. Ben’s passion for fighting food insecurity grew out of his experiences with hyperinsulinism (HI). His congenital HI and now diabetes means that food, and the right kind, in any given moment, is central to Ben’s survival. Food choice is an important strategy in blood sugar management – deciding when to eat proteins, carbs, or high-sugar foods can help minimize a particular high or low. This, of course, relies on having options. And this is where hyperinsulinism and food insecurity’s advocacy work can intersect. On the subject, Ben told me that “food has played such an important role in my life for medical reasons, so I have empathy for all who have food insecurity. Everyone needs to eat.” I am so proud of Ben for volunteering at Toni’s Kitchen and am in awe of all the amazing people who work and volunteer there. You can read more about this organization here.