The report, Household Food Insecurity in the United States, is a sobering snapshot of the pervasiveness of hunger in our nation. The report shows that child hunger remains critically high. Nearly 1 in 4 children nationally was at risk of hunger in 2009.
“Far too many Hoosiers are food insecure. But this data provides strong evidence that the safety net helped many families at risk of hunger in 2009. This was largely due to improvements to SNAP (The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) and other programs in the economic recovery package and the ongoing support for the emergency food system from the federal government,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “Despite continued increases in unemployment, federal nutrition and charitable food assistance programs responded to the rising need and prevented more Hoosiers from going hungry.”
“The report also confirms that we cannot afford to wait another year before addressing our child hunger crisis,” Bryant said. “When Congress returns to Washington this week, they have a critical opportunity to reduce child hunger by strengthening programs that increase low-income children’s access to healthy meals. Congress must not adjourn without passing the Child Nutrition bill this year.”
The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in August, and the bill now awaits action by the House of Representatives.
The sharp rise in food insecurity rates during the recession mirror the findings in Feeding America’s report Hunger in America 2010, which showed that the number of people seeking emergency food assistance each year through the Feeding America network of food banks has increased a staggering 46 percent since 2006. Indiana’s Hunger in America 2010: Indiana State Report revealed that Feeding America network food banks served nearly 700,000 Hoosiers in 2009, nearly half of them children and seniors.
The full USDA report can be found at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/FoodSecurity/.