Feeding Indiana's Hungry

Indiana's State Association of Food Banks

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Ending the Senior SNAP Gap

About a quarter of Indiana's seniors live in a household with other family members, including children. (Virginia Carter)

About a quarter of Indiana’s seniors live in a household with other family members, including children. (Virginia Carter)

More than 7 million, or 40 percent, of seniors eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have not applied, and the numbers are even lower in the Hoosier State. During Older Americans Month, the National Council on Aging has an effort under way to close the “SNAP Gap,” to get those folks access to healthier food, instead of relying on food banks. Thirteen percent of Indiana’s food-bank clients are more than 60 years old.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry says many seniors aren’t getting healthy food they need because they just can’t afford it.

“Seventy-seven percent of them know that they’re buying cheaper and unhealthy food because it’s what they are able to afford,” she said. “About half of them are receiving help from family and friends when they’re able. About a quarter of them are actually gardening or growing food in a community garden to offset that.”

Weikert Bryant says a quarter of Indiana households have one family member who’s over 60, and many of those homes have small children as well. The average amount a senior who does collect SNAP gets just $110 a month. She says that means they have just over a dollar to spend on each meal.

“A large number of them are also doing things like watering down their food or drink, and 29 percent of older adults are selling or pawning personal property,” she added. “Forty-six percent are receiving help from friends.”

Many seniors face barriers because they don’t have a computer or transportation to sign up for benefits, and many think they aren’t eligible. Weikert Bryant says we should pitch in and help them.

“They’ve worked hard their entire careers, they’re in a position where they might need help, they’re most decidedly in a position where they’ve earned that help,” she said. “So we want to make sure that they have that nutrition that’s enabling them to live healthier and longer lives to stay in their homes and stay active in their communities.”

Veronica Carter, Public News Service – IN

Join the Conversation During Older Americans Month to #SolveSeniorHunger

May is OldSenior SNAP_USAer Americans Month! The appreciation month for seniors is an annual event dating back to
1963 when President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month. It was later renamed Older Americans Month (OAM) and every president since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation that the entire nation pay tribute to older persons and their contributions to our communities.

The 2016 OAM theme is Blaze a Trail. The Administration for Community Living is raising awareness about important issues facing older adults and highlight the ways that older Americans are advocating for themselves, their peers and their communities.

The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks serves seven million seniors, the 1 in 12 seniors who face hunger in our country. Additionally, nearly 750,000 seniors volunteer each month at Feeding America network food pantries and meal programs across the country.

Food insecurity is particularly detrimental to seniors because of their unique nutritional needs related to aging and medical conditions. As such, we know seniors facing hunger are at increased risk for chronic health conditions like depression (60%), heart attack (53%), asthma (52%) and congestive heart failure (40%).

Through thoughtful and innovative programs designed to address the special and unique challenges that seniors face, the Feeding America network provides 563 million meals to seniors (age 60+) each year.

Charitable food assistance alone cannot solve senior hunger. The federal nutrition programs that reach seniors, including SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and senior congregate and home-delivered meals are critical supports for low-income seniors facing hunger.

This year, Feeding America and partner organizations have come together to shine a light on the fact that seniors, more than any other age group, do not take advantage of SNAP benefits. Nationally, only 41 percent of seniors who are eligible to receive SNAP are actually enrolled in the program, compared to the larger population where 83 percent of individuals who are eligible are taking advantage of benefits. In Indiana it’s even lower; only 33 percent of eligible seniors are participating in SNAP. During Older Americans Month 2016, we’re joining together to help #SolveSeniorHunger by closing the Senior SNAP Gap. Senior SNAP gap state-level information is available thanks to the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Together, we can give back to those who have given us so much of their time, hard work and wisdom. Join us in raising awareness for older Americans who struggle with hunger, so we can work toward solving senior hunger.

You can get involved in Older Americans Month in four key ways:

  • Join the #SolveSeniorHunger conversation by sharing stories of senior hunger
  • Share your state’s Senior SNAP Gap data to spread the word
  • Tweet or message your Members of Congress to help close the Senior SNAP Gap
  • Take a Solve Senior Hunger selfie and post it to social media with #SolveSeniorHunger to show your support

Visit org/SolveSeniorHunger to learn more about the issue and find resources to help raise awareness.

New Map the Meal Gap Data Released

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Hunger Study Finds Food Insecurity Levels Remain Historically High

                           According to Study, 15% of Hoosiers Struggle with Hunger

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Feeding Indiana’s Hungry announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2016, an annual study by Feeding America that details food insecurity rates in every county and congressional district in the United States. The study reveals that 15 percent of the population in Indiana is food insecure – 1,009,710 people, including 335,410 children.

Food insecurity is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Using county data from the five-year period of 2010 to 2014, Map the Meal Gap 2016 is the first Map the Meal Gap report with post-Great Recession county food-insecurity estimates.

“Map the Meal Gap shares data about the prevalence of hunger in our community,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director at Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “This information allows our member food banks to better understand the need and work with partners, donors, and stakeholders, to help close that gap.”

This year’s report found that nearly 15 percent or approximately one in seven people in the United States struggles with hunger at some point during the year. While the rate has decreased since 2011, the prevalence of food insecurity across counties remains historically high since 2008, and has not yet returned to pre-Great Recession levels.

Key local findings:
• The county with the lowest overall food insecurity remains Hamilton County at 9.4 percent or an estimated 27,150 individuals.
• The highest level of food insecurity is in Marion County at 19.4 percent or an estimated 177,940 individuals.
• The highest child food insecurity rate is found in Fayette County at 26.1 percent or an estimated 1,430.
• The lowest child food insecurity rate is found in Hamilton County at 13.5 percent, or an estimated 11,470 children.
• 32 percent of Indiana’s food insecure have income above 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and are being served only by charitable hunger relief efforts as they are ineligible for federal nutrition programs.
Map the Meal Gap 2016 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global provider of information and insights. The study, commissioned by Feeding America, is a detailed analysis of the nation’s food insecurity.

“This new research documents the pervasiveness of hunger in every community in our nation. While the economy has improved and unemployment rates have declined, many people are still struggling to access adequate amounts of nutritious food for their families,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America.

The study is supported by founding sponsor The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen. The lead researcher is Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group. This is the sixth consecutive year that Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study.

The Map the Meal Gap 2016 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners and individual advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2016 on Twitter using #MealGap.

AG Zoeller calls on Indiana legal community to March Against Hunger

AG partners with ISBA and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry for 8th annual food drive

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is once again calling on the legal community to help feed Indiana’s hungry by participating in the annual March Against Hunger.

Julio Alonso of Hoosier Hills Food Bank and Attorney General Greg Zoeller kick off the March Against Hunger in Bloomington.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is teaming up with the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA)  and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry for the eighth consecutive year to sponsor the friendly food drive competition to raise both non-perishable food and monetary donations for Indiana’s 10 regional food banks. Thecompetition runs March 1-31.

“Lawyers are always called upon to help those in trouble or in need of legal services, and our March Against Hunger is a way for them to show how they serve the community in another visible, hands-on way,” Zoeller said. “I challenge law firms big and small to embrace this opportunity and take an active role in reducing food insecurity in our state.”

Zoeller visited Hoosier Hills Food Bank in Bloomington today to kick-off the month-long competition.

“Families and children in our neighborhoods face hunger every day and may not know how to get their next meal,” Hoosier Hills Executive Director Julio Alonso said. “The need continues to grow, which is why it is so critical to involve the community in this challenge to help struggling Hoosiers.”

Hoosier Hills member agencies serve an estimated 7,500 people each week and 25,800 individuals annually. They distribute food in several Indiana counties including Brown, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange and Owen counties.

Attorneys, law firms, local bar chapters and law schools statewide are all encouraged to join March Against Hunger and help put food on the tables of those struggling in Indiana.

“The March Against Hunger competition is the perfect opportunity to call on Indiana lawyers, who by their very nature want to serve, to help put food on the tables of those in need,” ISBA President Carol M. Adinamis said.

Since 2009, March Against Hunger has generated 62,459 pounds of food and $282,027.91 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks.

“We are grateful for Attorney General Zoeller and the Indiana State Bar Association’s ongoing commitment to helping the 1.1 million Hoosiers at risk of hunger,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “This competition is a great opportunity for attorneys to form lasting partnerships with regional food banks and pantries. Hunger touches every Hoosier county, year round. Volunteers and donors make a tremendous impact on the lives of our clients.”

The winner of March Against Hunger in each of the following categories will be presented with the coveted “Attorney General’s Cup” trophy:

  • Solo Proprietor (1 lawyer)
  • Small Firm (2-11 lawyers)
  • Medium Firm (12-21 lawyers)
  • Large Firm (22-49 lawyers)
  • X-Large Firm (50+ lawyers)
  • Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar
  • Law Schools

For law firms with multiple offices participating in the competition, the trophy will be presented to the office that collects the most in pounds per attorney (monetary donations + non-perishable food donations divided by the number of attorneys in the office). Every dollar raised will count as 5 pounds.

In addition to the “Attorney General’s Cup” trophy, the firm in each category that collects the most non-perishable food donations will receive a certificate.

Law firms can sign up to participate in March Against Hunger on the Indiana State Bar Association’s website here.

Press release from the Office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

BILLS TO HELP HUNGRY HOOSIERS BEING HEARD THIS MONTH

 

Thousands of Hoosiers aren't getting enough to eat because they can't qualify for SNAP benefits.

Thousands of Hoosiers aren’t getting enough to eat because they can’t qualify for SNAP benefit. Indiana lawmakers are tackling a couple of bills this short legislative session that have to do with the access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, says there are thousands of Hoosiers without enough food because they can’t get help.

Indiana law says anyone convicted of a drug offense is not eligible to collect SNAP benefits regardless of how little money they have. Bryant says many of them are mothers just being released from jail.

“They may be taking custody of their children, they may be trying to keep their families together, but they can’t get access to enough food to feed their families and it has a definite impact of family stability,” she says.

House Bill 1078 would remove the stipulation that anyone convicted of drug offenses would not be allowed to receive SNAP benefits. Another bill that may come up next week is Senate Bill 377. It would remove some of the restrictions placed on people about how much money they can have saved up in order to qualify for the SNAP program.

Bryant says right now a family can’t have more than $2,250 in assets. That excludes their home, pension benefits or life insurance policies.

“Problem with that is it discourages families from saving,” she says. “And helping them move themselves out of poverty and into self sufficiency.”

Bryant says food banks and pantries across Indiana feed 1.1 million people a year. She says providing food to the needy means they don’t have to make a choice of using what little money they have to eat, or to keep the heat on in their homes.

“If a family has access to SNAP benefits, which are spent only on food, it frees up some of their other income to be able to pay that utility bill or to pay that rent,” Bryant says.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service – IN

 

Effort Under Way to Rid Indiana of “Food Deserts”

More than 23 million Americans don't have quick access to healthy food, but legislation in Indiana aims to change that. (Veronica Carter)

More than 23 million Americans don’t have quick access to healthy food, but legislation in Indiana aims to change that. (Veronica Carter)

January 13, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana has many areas where residents live 10 or more miles from a supermarket that sells fresh food and Indianapolis has been named the worst in the nation for these so-called “food deserts.”

Logansport Sen. Randy Head has authored a bill to give grants to businesses that want to sell healthier choices. He says it will help eliminate food deserts.

“For instance, if a convenience store wants to get coolers to offer fresh produce, this kind of thing would help them buy the coolers,” says Head. “They’ll be evaluated annually to make sure they’re doing what they say they’re going to do with the money and it’s got a claw-back in it, so if they’re not doing what they say they’re going to be doing or what they should be doing with it, they owe all that money back to the state.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than 23 million Americans live at least 10 miles away from supermarkets that offer fresh meat, dairy and produce, and more than half of those people are low-income.

Head says food deserts can be found all over the state, and they’re not just in the cities.

“You know, when people hear the term ‘food desert’ they automatically think of urban, but in Indiana and Illinois as well, a lot of food deserts are rural,” he says. “We’ve got them all over the state of Indiana, in many different types of communities.”

Senate Bill 15 requires the funds be used for equipment, infrastructure or property. Head says it’s based on a program in Pennsylvania where for every dollar invested, the grants resulted in $1.50 of economic development and improved quality of life in communities.

University of Arkansas Professor Randy Nayga is doing research in his state on children who live in food deserts. He says their average Body Mass Index is higher than kids from homes closer to stores that offer fresh food. He says researchers are looking at which stores children lived near, and also whether they have a chance to play outdoors and get exercise, because that matters, too.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service – IN

Be An Angel This Holiday: Donate Nutrient-Rich Milk For Hoosier Kids

The Great American Milk Drive makes it easy to deliver fresh milk to Indiana’s food banks to make the season brighter for families in need

For many of us, the holidays aren’t complete without milk and cookies or a cozy cup of hot cocoa. But families in need in your community may be missing out on milk and its nine essential nutrients this

Young cute boy holding his sippy cup

holiday season.

More than 48 million Americans – including 1.1 million Hoosiers – struggle with food insecurity. That’s why The Great American Milk Drive is helping to make the season brighter for families facing hunger with the gift of nutrient-rich milk. Milk isn’t just a drink—it’s a nutrient powerhouse providing 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein in each 8 ounce serving.

You can be an angel for a family in need in Indiana and help to deliver a gallon of milk, including its high-quality protein, when you support of The Great American Milk Drive this season. Visit Walmart this holiday season and purchase any 2 bags of M&M’s candies (9.4oz or larger) and up to a gallon of milk will be donated to The Great American Milk Drive.

“Walmart is dedicated to fighting to end hunger in our communities, and the holiday season is the perfect time for you to join the effort,” said Kevin Thompson. “When you pick items for your family at your local Walmart store, consider donating a gallon of milk to a local family in need, too.”

Food Banks Wishing For More Milk This Holiday Season

On average, food bank clients receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year, leaving many families with limited access to milk’s essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein.

The Great American Milk Drive is the first-ever national program to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. To date, more than 6.7 million servings of milk have been delivered as part of The Great American Milk Drive and Feeding America’s commitment to help families get much-desired nutrient-rich milk.

“Milk is the top food source of three of the nutrients most likely to be missing in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium,” said Deb Osza, General Manager of the American Dairy Association of Indiana.  “That’s why, during the holidays we are focused on making the season brighter for hungry families in our communities with the gift of nutrient-rich milk.”

Donations are also accepted at milklife.com/give, and for as little as $5 at milklife.com/give, you can be an angel for a family in need in your community by helping to deliver a gallon of milk to their table. By entering your zip code, you can ensure that the milk is delivered to a local Feeding America member food bank in your area.

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About Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

 

About MilkPEP

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation’s milk companies, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the Milk Life campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the powerful nutritional benefits of milk – with 9 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, in each 8 ounce glass. For more information, go to milklife.com. Campbell Ewald is creative agency for the Milk Life campaign – from America’s milk companies.

About National Dairy Council

National Dairy Council (NDC), the non-profit organization funded by the national dairy checkoff program, is committed to nutrition education and research-based communications. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC comprises a staff of registered dietitians and nutrition research and communications experts across the country. NDC has taken a leadership role in promoting child health and wellness through programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by NDC and the National Football League (NFL), Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. For more information, visit www.NationalDairyCouncil.org  or follow @NtlDairyCouncil on Twitter.

Indiana Farmers Humbly Helping Neighbors

Indiana farmers are doing their part to help keep people from going hungry during the holidays. Credit: pippalou/morguefile

Indiana farmers are doing their part to help keep people from going hungry during the holidays. Credit: pippalou/morguefile

November 25, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – A big Thanksgiving dinner isn’t always possible for the one in six Indiana residents who struggle with hunger. Farmers around the state are doing their part to help keep Hoosiers from going hungry during the holidays and year-round.

Indiana is home to nearly 60,000 farms, and Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, said that every producer she has met is providing for the less fortunate.

“When I explain what our organization does and what food banks do, and how many Hoosiers we’re feeding,” she said, “it’s just heartwarming that, two to one, they’re working to do something to help people who are at risk of hunger.”

The state’s network of food pantries and meal service programs provide food for slightly more than 1 million people each year. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry works with farm organizations including the Indiana Pork Producers, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana’s Family of Farmers and the Indiana Vegetable Growers’ Association to distribute donations.

Mike Smolek, who raises pigs in White County and donates meat from about 30 animals each year to a local food pantry, said he feels that farmers typically are not looking for recognition.

“We were raised humbly,” he said. “We do a lot of stuff without the publicity because we see that it needs to be done, and there’s not a farm or person I know that’s involved with agriculture that would not help out somebody in any given situation.”

Weikert Bryant said it isn’t just the big operations that are helping their neighbors.

“I was speaking with a couple from Northeast Indiana who grow a couple of acres of sweet corn,” she said. “If someone is in need of food assistance, the township trustee sends them to their couple of acres of sweet corn to glean what their family can use. So, farmers are not just feeding those of us who can afford it, they’re feeding everyone.”

While the holidays are a time when people often focus on the hungry, she urged year-round involvement – by donating food or volunteering at a local after-school program or food pantry.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service – IN

Indiana State Poultry Association Donates Over 73 Tons to Indiana Food Banks

 

Source: Indiana State Poultry Association  ISPA

Lt. Governor Sue Ellsperman joined representatives of the Indiana State Poultry Association to celebrate the donation of over 73 tons (146,000 pounds) of poultry products to food banks across Indiana for distribution to hungry Hoosier families today.  This donation of high protein meat and eggs is always appreciated by the food pantries that feed the hungry throughout the state. The current donation alone provides hundreds of thousands of highly nutritious meals to Hoosier families.

Monday’s donation is the continuation of a tradition that has endured for over 68 years. This is a tradition which marks the generosity of Indiana’s poultry producers that the Indiana State Poultry Association and its members plan to continue for many years to come.

Although these producers donate this enormous amount annually for this event, it is only a small portion of the total amount that the poultry industry donates throughout the year.  Over the past twelve months, the Indiana poultry industry has donated over 96,000 dozen eggs, and 250 tons (551,000 pounds) of poultry meat and egg products to local food banks throughout Indiana.  Over the past ten years, the poultry industry has contributed more than a 1.2 pounds, about 600 tons of Indiana poultry products.

The poultry industry knows just how important it is to continually support food banks who sustain individuals and families during their times of need.  Food banks always require help keeping their shelves filled, especially during the holidays.

Members of the Indiana State Poultry Association produce over 95% of Indiana’s chicken, turkey, duck and eggs. Indiana is the number one duck producing state, ranks third in egg production, third in turkey production, and raises millions of broiler chickens each year.  The Indiana poultry industry supports over 7,000 Hoosier jobs, contributing over $4.25 billion dollars annually to Indiana’s economy.