Feeding America report reveals new state-level data on child hunger
Indianapolis, Indiana –More than one in seven Indiana children experience food insecurity, according to new research released today by Feeding America and funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America’s Leadership Partner in the Fight to End Child Hunger.
Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008 reveals that an estimated 255,686 children under the age of 18 in Indiana were food insecure, meaning the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain. This includes the portion of Hoosiers experiencing ‘very low food security’ or hunger. The food insecurity rate increased more than 3 percent from the 2005-2007 data, to 16.2 percent.
“It’s disheartening to think that even one child must go without or worry whether or from where the next meal will come,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. “All children should be able to grow up without experiencing want, especially in Indiana, where food is abundant and neighbors care for neighbors. We must put an end to child hunger.”
The study also reveals regional data on food insecurity for children under the age of 5. In the Midwest region, 815,250 children under 5 on average were food insecure. This is a rate of more than one in six, or 18.6 percent.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases an annual report on the state of food insecurity in the United States, which focuses on the general population in each state. This new report delves deeper into the data in order to bring the child hunger statistics to the forefront.
While the recent 2009 USDA food insecurity report revealed that nationally, nearly one in four children is food insecure, determining detailed, state-level estimates on child food insecurity requires looking at a three-year average to increase accuracy and reliability. Though high, these estimates are expected to rise over the coming years as the full impact of the economic downturn is taken into account.
Through the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America contracted nationally-recognized researcher John Cook, Ph.D. to analyze the USDA’s food insecurity raw data in order to provide state-level child food insecurity estimates.
“Research over the past 12 years shows conclusively that food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children’s health, growth and development, and may even harm young children’s brain architecture,” Cook said.
“This report demonstrates the crisis that our country continues to face at the local level,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. “The fight against hunger is more important than ever. We thank our longtime partners at the ConAgra Foods Foundation for their ongoing support in the fight against child hunger and their commitment to funding critical research, such as this study by Dr. Cook. The data underscores the critical importance of passing the new Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. We are committed to putting an end to child hunger.”
The ConAgra Foods Foundation has been a dedicated partner of Feeding America for more than 15 years, providing both food and funds in the fight against hunger. ConAgra Foods recently committed $10 million over five years to fight child hunger with Feeding America. This is the largest donation in Feeding America’s history specifically designated to support the fight against child hunger.
“We’re dedicated to helping solve childhood hunger, but to do so we must first understand the need. That’s why the ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this study with Feeding America and Dr. Cook,” said Kori Reed, Executive Director, ConAgra Foods Foundation. “Knowing where children are most in need of our support will allow us to better direct our funding and resources to provide the most relief. It will also bring all of us one step closer to ending child hunger in America.”
The states with the highest increases in the rates of child food insecurity since last year for children under the age of 18 include:
The full report, including a complete list of all 50 states, is available at http://feedingamerica.org/our-network/the-studies/child-food-insecurity.aspx.
About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks (formerly America’s Second Harvest). Our ten member food banks serve 1,500 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, Terre Haute
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
For more information on Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. contact Emily Weikert Bryant at 317/396-9355 or firstname.lastname@example.org, view our website at www.feedingindianashungry.org, or follow our blog at www.feedingindianashungry.blogspot.com.
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. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 17 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and don’t have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. And the Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America, that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.conagrafoodsfoundation.org or www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoodsFoundation. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is funded solely by ConAgra Foods.