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Category: Map the Meal Gap (page 1 of 2)

REPORT: ONE IN SEVEN HOOSIERS IS HUNGRY

A new report says 38 Indiana counties have food insecurity rates among children at or above 20 percent. (USDA)
A new report says 38 Indiana counties have food insecurity rates among children at or above 20 percent. (USDA)

More than 300,000 children in Indiana don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Feeding America’s 2017 Map the Meal Gap report is out, and it looks at the hunger rate in every county across the country.

The report analyzes factors such as food price variations, food budget shortfalls, poverty and unemployment.

It says overall, 1 in 7 Indiana residents is food insecure.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, says the hunger rate for children is even higher – at 20 percent or more – in 38 counties in the state.

“You’ve got counties that are as high as almost 24 percent in Fayette, and nearly that high in Switzerland and Wayne as well,” she states. “And so, you’re talking about really closer to 1 in 4 children who are at risk of hunger. So they don’t know where that next meal is coming from.”

Weikert Bryant says about 7 in 10 Hoosier children are eligible for some sort of nutrition assistance program, but that leaves about 30 percent whose families make too much to qualify. In some cases, she says, the only places they have to turn for help are charitable organizations that distribute free food.

The report also finds shortfalls are growing in many families’ food budgets. Weikert Bryant says that means there isn’t enough to stretch from paycheck to paycheck.

“The numbers are remaining fairly steady, but the folks that are food insecure are having a much harder time,” she states. “That hole they have to dig out of is deeper than it used to be.”

Weikert Bryant adds a greater effort is needed to make sure that people who are eligible for food assistance apply for and receive it, and she says this is no time for the federal government to cut or restrict eligibility for food programs.

Marion County has the highest overall food insecurity rate in Indiana. Hamilton County has the lowest, but Weikert Bryant says there still are 26,000 people in that county at risk of hunger.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service – IN

Life Gets Harder for Indiana’s Hungry

According to Study, 14% Hoosiers Struggle with Hunger

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2017, the latest report by Feeding America® on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. Map the Meal Gap 2017 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in Indiana. Overall food insecurity ranges from a low of 9 percent of the population in Hamilton County up to nearly 19 percent in Marion County. The national average food insecurity rate across all counties is 14%.

The study also finds that people currently facing hunger are likely falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs.  Food-insecure individuals now face, on average, a food budget shortfall of $15.44 per person each week, up from $14.92 last year.

“We have seen a consistent increase in the food budget shortfall the last several years, in spite of economic improvement,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “This rising measure of need suggests that people facing hunger are likely falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs.”

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is a Partner State Association of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger.  The eleven member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry collectively distributed 62.6 million meals to clients across Indiana in 2016 to alleviate hunger.

“It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families at the same time that our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “This study underscores the need for strong federal nutrition programs as well of the importance of charitable food assistance programs, especially the food pantries and meal programs served by the Feeding America network of food banks.”

Map the Meal Gap 2017 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 is supported by founding sponsor The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Key local findings:

  • 14.4% food insecurity rate in Indiana is estimated to be 950,720 Hoosiers at risk of hunger.
  • Child food insecurity numbers are estimated at 301,990 at 19.1%.
  • County averages range from 12.6% in Hamilton County to several counties to 38 at or above 20%, and several nearing a quarter of children in the county being food insecure, including Fayette, Switzerland, Sullivan, and Wayne Counties at over 23%.
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 is the lead researcher of Map the Meal Gap 2017. A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org. Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2017 on Twitter using #MealGap.

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.

2014 Map the Meal Gap Study Uncovers Indiana Food Insecurity Rate

Nation-wide Research Reveals Poverty to be Most Impactful to Consistent Food AccessMTMG_LOGO_4c

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – REVISED April 24, 2014 – Feeding Indiana’s Hungry announced that the annual Map the Meal Gap results released today show that food insecurity continues to remain high in Indiana. According to the newly released data, 15.7 percent of Hoosiers are food insecure–more than one million people–which includes nearly 346,000 children.

Indiana falls around the national average of 15.9 percent food insecurity for all Americans; 21.8 percent of Hoosier children are food insecure compared to 21.6 percent of all American children. Rates reach as high as 19.2 percent of the total population in Marion County and 28.5 percent of children in Fayette County, Indiana’s highest areas of food insecurity. Indiana’s lowest rates occurred in Hamilton County, where 9.8 percent of the total population and 14.3 percent of children are food insecure; however, this still amounts to an estimated 27,130 people and 11,790 children in Hamilton County who don’t know from where or when then their next meal will come.

Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.

“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 allow Indiana’s food banks to continue to evaluate and adjust to the need in individual counties across the state,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us define the social issues plaguing Indiana to work together with state and local leaders to find a solution.”

The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to find out how widespread hunger is in their community. The map can be found at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap and http://feedingindianashungry.org/resources/map-the-meal-gap/

Other key findings in Indiana:

54 percent of Indiana’s food insecure are likely income eligible for eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal nutrition assistance;
31 percent of Indiana’s food insecure have income that falls above all federal nutrition program income eligibility thresholds and would likely be income eligible only for charitable nutrition assistance provided by a food bank, food pantry, or other charitable organization;
71 percent of food insecure Hoosier children live in households likely eligible for federal nutrition assistance like free and reduced price school lunch, school breakfast, and the Summer Food Service Program.
Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.

“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”

The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency

A summary of the findings and the full report are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap

New Data Shows More Than 1 Million Hoosiers are at Risk of Hunger

A new study finds that 1,063,990 Hoosiers – including 355,780 children – do not always know where they _DSC2579will find their next meal. In all, 16 percent of the population in Indiana struggle with hunger, according to research released today by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.  For Hoosiers under 18 years old, the food insecurity rate is nearly 23 percent.  These rates remain unchanged from 2011.

The findings are from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both the general population and, separately, for children under the age of 18. The estimates are calculated at both the county and congressional-district level for the entire U.S.  The eleven member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are all part of the Feeding America network.

“Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States,” said Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, an international food insecurity expert and the lead researcher of the “Map the Meal Gap” study. “We undertook this research to demonstrate the extent and prevalence of food insecurity at both the county and congressional-district level. This data has the potential to redefine the way service providers and policy makers address food insecurity in the communities they serve.”

“We are particularly concerned about children who are under-nourished. A child who does not receive adequate nutrition may experience behavioral problems, have difficulty concentrating in school, and has an increased risk of medical problems. Lack of adequate nutrition in children, for even a brief period of time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental impairments,” Gundersen said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 50 million people nationwide are food insecure.

By analyzing household income levels, the study reveals that 69 percent of children at risk of hunger in Indiana are eligible for federal nutrition programs, like free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast; but that 31 percent are not.

“This data provides specific numbers of Hoosiers at risk of hunger, rather than just an abstraction of percentages,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “It tells us that one in six Hoosiers is at risk of hunger, and for children it’s just one in four.  These numbers show that hunger is a reality in every county and community of our state.  Hunger is much closer to each and every Hoosier than they may realize.  No Hoosier should ever have to worry about where they will find their next meal.”

“Map the Meal Gap 2013” also shows:

  • The cost of an average meal in Indiana. Here in Indiana, the cost of an average meal is $2.33.
  • The cost of an average meal in Indiana relative to the national average. Here in Indiana, the cost of a meal is 34 cents lower than the national average of $2.67.
  • The annual food budget shortfall in Indiana, meaning the amount of additional money that food-insecure individuals in the area said they would need to put enough food on the table for an adequate diet. In Indiana, the total number is $173,459,592.

This is the third year that Feeding America has conducted the “Map the Meal Gap” study. The findings of “Map the Meal Gap” are based on statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; food price data and analysis were provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global information and measurement company providing insights into what consumers watch and buy. The study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Nielsen and The ConAgra Foods Foundation.

Prior to the study’s first release in March 2011, food insecurity data was only available at the state level in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report. The study further analyzes each county’s food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance, and also provides meal cost estimates for every county in the nation.

 

New Report: 1 in 4 Hoosier Children At Risk of Hunger, in Every County in the State

June 5, 2012 – A new study released yesterday by Feeding America shows that children continue to struggle with hunger in every county in the nation with nearly one in four in Indiana at risk of going hungry.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2012” gives a one-of-kind look at the occurrence of children living on the brink of hunger in the U.S. at a county and congressional district level. The report includes an interactive map that gives users the ability to look at the specifics of food insecurity in any county in the US.

In Indiana, the report finds that 22.7 percent, or an estimated 358,120 Hoosier children may not know from where their next meal will come. Individual Indiana counties ranged from 26.9 percent in Miami and Starke Counties, to 14.5 percent in Hamilton County.

The report also found that of the food insecure kids in Indiana, about thirty percent may not be eligible for federal nutrition programs like free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast.

“As summer begins and Hoosier kids do not have access to school meals, we must take this information as a call to action. It is unacceptable for nearly a quarter of all children to be at risk of hunger in Indiana,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “Families at risk can call 2-1-1 to be connected to emergency food services, including locations for kids’ meals through the summer food service program.  Those more fortunate can donate food, funds, or time to local food banks and pantries to do what we can to help those in need.  There is no reason any child should be faced with the grim option of going without meals.”

By providing the information at a county level, agencies and civic leaders are able to assess where the need is greatest to help feed the more 16 million children nationwide who are at risk of hunger. In Indiana, the member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry provided nearly 66.4 million pounds of food and groceries through the network of eleven member food banks that serve about 1,700 food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens.  All member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are part of the the Feeding America network, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization.

The ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need. The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2012: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.

An executive summary of the report and interactive map can be found at: feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

*“Food Insecurity” is a phrase used by the USDA to describe lack of consistent access to adequate amounts of food for an active, healthy life.

USDA Report Shows That 13 Percent of Hoosier Households are Food Insecure in a Three Year Average; 49 Million Americans Overall

Hoosier Numbers Growing and Could Continue to Do So, Given Economic Outlook and Proposed Budget Cuts
September 9, 2011—The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported this week that 13 percent of Hoosier households are food insecure, according to a three year average.  Overall, 1 in 6 Americans lives in a household that is food insecure.  This new data comes during Indiana’s Hunger Action Week, as declared by Governor Mitch Daniels, and just days after Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, released a new study which revealed that 24.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in Indiana are struggling with hunger.

Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.  

“These new numbers show that food insecurity has continued to rise in Indiana roughly a percent a year over the last three years, while nationally, numbers remained steady or improved this year,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “Combined with recent reports from Feeding America and other anti-hunger advocates, a clear picture is painted to show that hunger does exist in Indiana and it will not go away on its own. We must address this critical need head-on to ensure that our citizens are getting the help necessary to succeed in school and in the workplace, and that our seniors do not go without.”
Nationally, among the nearly 49 million Americans facing hunger in the US, more than 16 million are children.  Five million households experiencing food insecurity include at least one senior.   The USDA collected the data in December, 2010.
“Many Hoosiers who are food insecure are also experiencing unemployment or underemployment, which remains at historically high levels,” said Bryant.  “As Congress and the Administration look for ways to reduce the federal deficit, it is more critical than ever to protect nutrition programs that provide the first line of defense against hunger in America.”
The USDA released a study  earlier this year, which found that provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) helped reduce food insecurity among people receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, when compared to low-income households that are not eligible for SNAP benefits.
SNAP is the nation’s largest nutrition program, now serving more than 45 million low-income people nationally and 884,000 Hoosiers.  Seventy nine percent of the households receiving SNAP nationally include a child, elderly, or disabled person.
The Senate is currently considering legislation funding several critical nutrition programs for FY2012. The House has already approved legislation that would significantly weaken the nutrition safety net.
Last spring, Feeding America conducted a research study to reveal food insecurity rates at the county level. Map the Meal Gap showed that hunger exists in every county in Indiana, ranging from 10 percent in Hamilton County, to 22 percent in Fayette County.

“The pervasiveness of hunger requires a strong partnership between federal nutrition programs and the charitable distribution system to feed people in need, and our member food banks are up to the challenge,” said Bryant. “ While our nation faces many serious challenges today, the costs of children growing up hungry and seniors spending a lifetime working hard and retiring hungry are great.  Hunger is simply one battle we cannot afford to lose.”

Governor Daniels Declares Sept. 4-10 Hunger Action Week

FEEDING INDIANA’S HUNGRY AND FEEDING AMERICA LAUNCH HUNGER ACTION MONTH
Governor Daniels Declares Next Week Hunger Action Week in Indiana
September 2, 2011—This September, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief organization, are encouraging Hoosiers from all walks of life to raise awareness for hunger relief. Hunger Action Month is a multi-faceted effort to mobilize the public to end hunger in the United States.
As shown by Feeding America’s recent study, Map the Meal Gap, one in six Americans suffer from hunger.  Here in Indiana, 16% of people are food insecure.  For Hoosier children, the numbers are even greater–one in four Hoosier children is food insecure.
Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. 
In recognition of the state’s commitment to raising awareness of hunger, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is pleased to announce that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has declared September 4th through September 10th to be Hunger Action Week across the state.
“Hunger is real and impacts more Hoosiers than you might think,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “The eleven member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry distributed nearly sixty million pounds of food last year, but the demand isn’t letting up.  We need Hoosiers to be aware and take action in their local communities to help our neighbors facing hunger.”   
The member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are participating in Hunger Action Month in many ways.  Some are participating in a nationwide Paper Plate Campaign to collect local messages from food assistance agencies to be read and delivered to members of Congress in Washington D.C. Some have designed a 30 Ways in 30 Days campaign to provide individuals exciting ways to participate in their community throughout September.   All have volunteer events for the public to help provide food for those in need. 
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America are encouraging everyone to rally for hunger relief by doing three simple tasks this September: watch, share, and act.
  • Simply visit www.hungeractionmonth.org, and watch the celebrity public service announcement (PSA) videos. Actors Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Taye Diggs, and Ana Ortiz have partnered with Feeding America to show that hunger is indeed closer than you think. Watch these celebrities portray an actual Feeding America client experiencing hunger.
  • Secondly, share the PSAs through your social media spaces, such as Twitter, Facebook, or your personal blog. Our goal is to reach 1 million people through digital platforms.
    • Share hunger stats with your friends. Tweet, post, and blog about hunger in your area.
    • Donate to Feeding America or the member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. $1 donated helps Feeding America provide ten pounds of food and grocery products, or the equivalent of eight meals, to someone at risk of hunger.
To learn more about Hunger Action Month, please visit www.hungeractionmonth.org.
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About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks (formerly America’s Second Harvest).  Our eleven member food banks serve more than 1,700 agencies in all 92 counties, providing emergency food assistance to Hoosiers in need.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. food banks statewide include:

Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Gary
Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend
Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette
Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH

For more information on Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. contact Emily Weikert Bryant at 317/396-9355 or ewbryant@feedingindianashungry.org, or view our website at www.feedingindianashungry.org.  Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingIndianasHungry or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedINsHungry

About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

New Study Shows that One in Four Hoosier Children Live at Risk of Hunger

Map the Meal Gap Child Food Insecurity 2011: Data at the Local Level for the First Time
Aug. 25, 2011Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals that 24.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in Indiana are struggling with hunger.  This is about 388,640 or one in four Hoosier children, spanning all 92 Indiana counties.
The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, reveals that there are children struggling with food insecurity in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall is food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children is food insecure.  The study shows that rates of child food insecurity in Indiana range from a low of seventeen percent, in Hamilton County to highs of 32 percent or more in Fayette, Elkhart, Adams, Miami, Crawford, and LaGrange Counties, touching all areas of the state. 
Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. 
 
“Even the most positive numbers still indicate that a significant number of children are food insecure in every Hoosier county, which is unacceptable,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Indiana’s state association of food banks.  “Food insecurity threatens the health, education, and workforce readiness of one in four Hoosier children.  Even if we are not aware of anyone in need, the problem is much closer to home than we might think and it cannot be ignored.”
“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data for Indiana in an interactive map format:
o   The percentage of the population who is food insecure, by county.  Statewide, 16 percent of the population is food insecure.
o   The percentage of children in Indiana by county that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.  Statewide, 62 percent of food insecure children are eligible for these federal nutrition programs.
o   The percentage of children in Indiana who are not eligible for federal nutrition programs like WIC, free or reduced-price school meals, and others.  Statewide, 38 percent of children and families who are food insecure rely heavily on the charitable

sector for assistance.

An executive summary of the report can be found at: feedingamerica.org/mapthegap/childsummary
The study is an important tool because it provides critical information for developing strategies to alleviate child hunger.  The data will enable hunger relief providers to direct greater outreach for SNAP (food stamps) or free or reduced-price school meals where there are high percentages of eligible children. Likewise, the study shows where other resources need to be explored and secured in areas where families have just enough income to be financially ineligible for federal nutrition programs but clearly still have a need for food assistance.
“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” shows what the hunger relief community has known but could not quantify: that hunger is everywhere in our state and country, it is not directly related to poverty, but is more closely tied to unemployment and underemployment, a problem many Hoosiers continue to experience.  Hoosiers in need of assistance are working or seeking work, but are not earning enough to provide the basic necessities for their family,” said Bryant.
By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.
This research is supported by ConAgra Foods Foundation. The ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need. 
The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.