31% in Indiana Who Are Food Insecure May Only Be Able to Turn to Charitable Food Programs for Help

Indianapolis, Indiana – May 2, 2018 – Feeding Indiana’s Hungry announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2018, 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 2018 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in Indiana. Additionally, 31% of Indiana residents who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements just as Congress looks at further restricting eligibility for these programs through the Farm Bill.

Overall food insecurity in Indiana ranges from a low of 8.8% of the population in Hamilton County up to 18.3% in Marion County. The statewide average food insecurity rate is 13.7%; the national average is 14%.

The analysis also finds that in four Indiana counties roughly half of the people facing hunger are unable to participate in federal nutrition programs. In Hamilton County, 59% of people struggling with hunger may not qualify for food assistance. Hamilton County also has the lowest Child Food Insecurity rate of 11.8% but 62% of those 10,260 children do not qualify to participate in programs like free or reduced school meals.

“In every county in Indiana, there are at least some food-insecure individuals whose level of income likely prevents them from qualifying for federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and free and reduced-priced school lunch programs,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “For these food-insecure households, the charitable food assistance network may be the only source of support, underscoring the need to protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs as Congress considers a Farm Bill.”

The eleven member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are among the 200 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger.

“The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks works hard to deliver more than 4 billion meals annually to people facing hunger, yet the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves 12 meals for every one meal provided through our network,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As Congress debates legislation like the 2018 Farm Bill, programs like SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and trying to make ends meet have the essential food resources they need.”

Map the Meal Gap 2018 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, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

The study’s findings underscore the depth of need that remains in communities in Indiana and across the U.S., despite national measures from the USDA that indicate overall improvement. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the USDA as lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

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 2018.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study.

The Map the Meal Gap 2018 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners, food banks 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 map.feedingamerica.org.

Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2018 on Twitter using #MealGap.

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About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks.  Member food banks 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
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH

 

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 food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout 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 http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.