Feeding Indiana's Hungry

Indiana's State Association of Food Banks

Menu Close

Category: News


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.

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.


Updated SNAP Income Eligibility Guidelines Now Available

Each federal fiscal year (October 1-September 30), the United States Department of Agriculture publishes new income eligibility guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program based on the snapfederal poverty guidelines.

Find a flyer here to print and share with clients explaining the application process and containing the updated income guidelines.

Walmart Foundation Contributes $46,822 to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry to Assist with Hunger Relief Efforts

 Donation to increase access to food, perishable items throughout Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, March 11, 2014 – Feeding Indiana’s Hungry received two grants totaling $46,822 from the Walmart Foundation to assist with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach and perishable product distribution. The grants – which were given to the non-profit organization through the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program – helped spread information about SNAP to staff and volunteers of hundreds of food pantries who work with member food banks.  The contribution has also helped the network of food banks expand the distribution of perishable products through helping fund an AmeriCorps VISTA position and through smaller direct grants to member food banks for equipment to keep perishable items properly stored for distribution.

“At a time when too many Hoosiers are struggling to feed their families, I’m pleased to see two organizations in Indiana — Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Walmart — working together to help those in need,” said U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. “The business community is an important partner in Indiana hunger relief efforts, and this grant will mean more food can reach children and families.”

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is the state association of food banks affiliated with Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank network. Collectively, these 11 member food banks serve all 92 counties in Indiana. Their member food banks solicited, warehoused, transported and distributed more than 80 million pounds of food in 2013 through more than 1,700 local pantries, soup kitchens, after school programs, and other food assistance programs.

“Sen. Donnelly and Walmart have been great partners of the anti-hunger community,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “The funding we received has helped us get more food to our clients, through the SNAP program and through the charitable sector, aiding the more than one million Hoosiers who are at risk of hunger to feed their families.”

The contributions to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry were made possible through the Walmart Foundation’s Indiana State Giving Program (SGP) and the Indiana Associate Choice Program. Through these programs, the Walmart Foundation supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better. The Walmart Foundation State Giving Program strives to award contributions that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are very pleased to be supporting Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, and are committed to helping those in need in the communities we serve,” said Regional General Manager David Reitnauer. “Through this contribution, we are hopeful that the one in six Hoosiers at risk of hunger—and one in four Hoosier children—have improved access to perishable foods like dairy products, produce, and meat.”

Last year, the Indiana State Giving Program awarded more than $800,000 to local organizations such as Blessing in a Backpack, Inc., Media Ministries, Inc., The Salvation Army, West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc., Women’s Bureau, Inc.  In Indiana, a team of local associates determines needs within each state, review eligible grant applications and make funding recommendations to the Walmart Foundation.

To be considered for support, prospective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application.  Eligible applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum funding criteria.  Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online at http://foundation.walmart.com/apply-for-grants/state-giving.

In 2012, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world. This includes $1 billion in cash and in-kind gifts in the United States and $82.2 million in cash and in-kind gifts in international markets. In addition, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Logistics associates volunteered more than 2.2 million hours, generating $18 million to U.S. nonprofits.

About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks.  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


About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.



SNAP Disbursement Changes Coming in January

Because of a law passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly, the date on which recipients receive their benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) will be changing beginning in January of 2014.  The benefit amount will not be changing, just the date each month that clients receive the benefits on their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) or Hoosier Works card.

In order to help transition to the new payment date, the following schedule was developed to phase in the new dates with prorated issuance in the month of January:

  • In January 2014, recipients will receive half of their benefits on their EBT card on their current date.  They will receive the other half of their benefits on their new date later in the month.
  • In February, and every month after that, they will receive the full benefit amount on the new date later in the month.

Dates are based on the first letter of each recipient’s last name.

You can find additional information, register to receive an email reminder, search by last name to get the new disbursement date, watch a brief video, and find flyers and posters in English and Spanish at SNAP.in.gov.  We have also included information on our website at http://feedingindianashungry.org/find-a-foodbank/snap-benefit-disbursement-will-change-january-2014/.


Hoosier SNAP Recipients Will See Decreased Benefits November 1

Hunger relief advocates are spreading the word that the increased benefits to recipients in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will expire on November 1, 2013.

SNAP recipients will initially see benefits increase slightly for most households on October 1 to reflect the annual cost of living adjustment.  But on November 1, recipients will see their benefits decrease due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 law.

These changes are not a result of the current federal government shutdown.

Indiana’s Family & Social Services Agency (FSSA) will communicate benefit changes directly with SNAP recipients prior to the November decrease.  But hunger relief advocates want to ensure that SNAP clients are informed and prepared well ahead of these changes.

“Beginning November 1, the more than 925,000 Hoosiers receiving SNAP will see a decrease in the monthly benefits that for a family of four will be up to $36 per month,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “$36 means several days’ worth of food for a struggling family.  Clients already have a difficult time putting enough food on their tables and paying their bills even with SNAP benefits.  We hope that by spreading the word early, clients can prepare themselves as best as possible and local food pantries can proactively gear up for increased client traffic.”

The eleven regional member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry distributed 73.7 million pounds of food in 2012 with the help of food and fund donations from retailers, manufacturers, private and foundation donors, and commodity food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  But the state impact of SNAP ARRA cuts will be a loss of $98 million worth of food over the next year.

“We hope that Hoosiers statewide will also come to the aid of our friends, neighbors, and family that will be impacted by the loss of food assistance in November by donating food, funds, or time to regional food banks or local pantries to ensure that more food is available to those in need,” said Bryant.

The new SNAP maximum monthly benefit levels will change with the October cost of living adjustments and November cuts as follows:

SNAP Maximum Monthly Benefit Levels

Household Size

October 1, 2013


November 1, 2013



































Each additional






Hoosiers wishing to find out their SNAP balance can call 877-768-5098, look at their last grocery receipt, or check the balance online https://www.ebtaccount.jpmorgan.com/

It is also important to ensure that Hoosier SNAP clients are claiming all of the deductions for which they qualify to receive the benefits for which they are eligible.  This includes accounting for medical expenses for seniors 60 years or older and dependent care expenses for children under 18 or other dependents.

If you need food right away, contact your regional food bank, which can be located through FeedingAmerica.org or Feedingindianashungry.org, or call 211 anywhere in Indiana at any time to be connected to a trained human service professional and ask for the nearest food pantry or food distribution site.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides several resources to help people eat healthy meals on a low budget including:

The USDA Recipe Box (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fncs-recipe-box) helps people find healthy low cost recipes and create cookbooks and shopping lists.

One in Four Households with Children in IN Report Inability to Afford Enough Food

Data Also Show Widespread Struggle in Every State and Metropolitan Area, Underscoring Need to Protect Nutrition Safety Net

Indianap101115-FA-FL-200 (2)olis, IN– September 18, 2013 – The recession has meant that high numbers of all types of households have been struggling to purchase adequate food, but households with children suffered extraordinarily high rates, according to a new national report released today. In surveys running for five years through 2012, nearly one in four households with children said they couldn’t consistently afford food, even as the House Majority Leadership is proposing to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by a staggering $40 billion.

Food Hardship 2008-2012: Geography and Household Structure, released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), found that in surveys from 2008-2012, 26.5 percent of households with children in Indiana said there were times in the prior year when they did not have enough money to buy food that they needed for themselves or their family.  17 percent of households without children Indiana said they faced the same struggle.  Indiana is ranked 16th worst in the nation in both categories.

“Given the economic struggles that continue to persist in Indiana, we urge our Hoosier delegation in Congress to reject cuts to SNAP,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.   “Food hardship is far too high for all households in Indiana, and the situation for households with children is far worse. Our Members of Congress need to act on what’s going to help, not hurt struggling families here, and the first step is to pass a Farm Bill that doesn’t cut SNAP.”

This report is consistent with data released by the federal government this month which show how many Americans continue to struggle. Food insecurity data, released by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), show that 13.5 of households in Indiana struggled with hunger during the 2010 to 2012 period. (Those data are not broken down by households with and without children.) And poverty data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau showed Indiana’s incomes trailed the U.S. average in 2012 by 9 percent, the 12th year in a row Hoosiers’ earnings have lagged behind the average Americans’.

“What these data tell us is that there’s a new reality for too many Hoosiers. Hunger and poverty rates spiked at the beginning of the recession and have stayed high ever since,” said Bryant.  “And the food hardship data reveal the extraordinary frequency of that struggle for households with children who say they can’t afford enough food. Cutting SNAP would worsen an already terrible situation.”

The FRAC analysis examines food hardship rates – the inability to afford enough food – for households with and without children. Data are available for the nation, every state and region, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Indianapolis-Carmel, and the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Chicago MSAs which contain portions of Indiana. Findings for childhood food hardship for surveys from 2008-2012 in these MSAs include:

  • For the Indianapolis-Carmel MSA, the food hardship rate for households with children was 22.4 percent for households with children (54th in the nation), and 17.1 percent for households without children (20th in the nation).
  • For the Louisville MSA, the food hardship rate for households with children was 28 percent for households with children (10th in the nation), and 16.5 percent for households without children (30th in the nation).
  • For the Cincinnati MSA, the food hardship rate for households with children was 22 percent for households with children (57th in the nation), and 15.8 percent for households without children (38th in the nation).
  • For the Chicago MSA, the food hardship rate for households with children was 21.8 percent for households with children (60th in the nation), and 13.6 percent for households without children (68th in the nation).

The full analysis is available on FRAC’s website (www.frac.org).

About the data

FRAC’s Food Hardship in America series analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has interviewed nearly 1.8 million households between 2008 and 2012. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”


One in Six Hoosiers Reports Struggle to Afford Enough Food during First Six Months of 2012

Food Hardship Rate Underscores Need to Protect Programs Providing Food

August 24, 2012 – New data released this week by the Gallup organization show the food hardship rate for Indiana was 16.8 percent during the first six months of 2012. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry noted this rate shows that far too many Hoosiers continue to report that there were times during the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed. Nationally, the food hardship rate was 18.2 percent during the first six months of 2012.

People across the country continue to report their struggle to afford food in the aftermath of the recession and ongoing unemployment and underemployment. Many have turned to the charitable sector like Indiana’s food banks and food pantries.  However, these charitable programs provide only 4 percent of all nutrition assistance provided in the U.S.  Many in need have also had to turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to provide for their families, which has caused SNAP enrollment to grow.  SNAP also assists the nation’s most vulnerable, as 84% of SNAP benefits go to households with a child, senior, or disabled person.  Despite these struggles, some in Congress are trying to make harsh cuts to SNAP.

“Food hardship continues to be far too high in this country and in our state,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “The numbers underscore the point that people still continue to struggle, in every county and community in Indiana, rural, urban, and suburban areas alike.  Just last month, 912,000 Hoosiers were receiving SNAP assistance to provide families with a stable source of food, signaling that Hoosiers are still hurting from job losses and lost wages.  Cuts to SNAP would hurt these Hoosiers who are working or trying to work but not making enough to get by.  Cuts will particularly harm seniors, children, and the disabled, taking food away from the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Congress must reject these attempts to make false economies by taking from those who have the least.”

# # #

The food hardship question is being asked as part of a survey conducted by Gallup through the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project. Gallup has been interviewing 1,000 households per day almost every day since January 2, 2008 for this project. Respondents are asked a series of questions on a range of topics, including emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and access to basic services.

New Survey Finds One in Five Households in Indiana Unable to Afford Enough Food in 2011

Indiana is 16th Worst in the Nation and Not Improving

INDIANAPOLIS—20 percent of respondents in Indiana reported in 2011 not having enough money to buy food that they or their family needed at some points during the prior twelve months, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).  This placed Indiana at the 16th highest rate of food hardship in the nation, and the worst in the Midwest.

This unique report provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for every region, every state, every Congressional District and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). For Indiana, it found that:

  • In 2011, 20.3 percent of households surveyed in the state said they were unable to afford enough food at times during the year. In 2010, the same report indicated that Indiana also had 20.3 percent food hardship, but the state ranking was marginally better at 17th worst in the nation.
  • 8 out of the 9 Congressional Districts in Indiana had 15 percent or more of their residents reporting food hardship in 2010-2011.

“These new data show us just how much people are struggling in our communities, and underline that far too many of them are finding it a challenge to afford enough food for their families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “These data mirror the trends of the annual report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on ‘food insecurity’, a comparable measure, and show that the situation is not improving in Indiana as it appears to have begun to in some other states.”

FRAC’s food hardship report analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

“Rising food prices, continuing high unemployment and underemployment, and flat food stamp benefit allotments all contributed to the high food hardship rate in 2011,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Particularly challenging was the increase in food inflation, especially for the foods the government uses to construct the Thrifty Food Plan, its cheapest diet. Food stamp beneficiaries lost more than six percent of their food purchasing power because of this increase.”

Recent polling data, released last month by FRAC, demonstrate the broad support among Americans for the federal nutrition programs and for a stronger role by government in ending hunger. Seven in 10 voters said the federal government should have a major role to ensure that low-income families and children have the food and nutrition they need. Seventy-seven percent of voters say that cutting food stamp assistance (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) would be the wrong way to reduce government spending.

“Even in difficult times, this nation has the resources to eliminate hunger. These data show that no community in our state is anywhere close to being hunger-free, and that more must be done to solve this problem,” said Bryant. “It is time for our elected officials to tackle hunger with the zeal that the situation demands.”

The full report is available at www.frac.org


About This Report

This report is the latest in the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) series of analyses of survey data on food hardship collected by Gallup as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. It provides the most up-to-date examination of the struggle that very large numbers of American households are having affording enough food.