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.”
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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.