A landmark study released by God’s Pantry Food Bank and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, reports that more than 211,000 people, receive emergency food each year through God’s Pantry Food Bank. The findings represent a 33 percent increase since the findings reported in Hunger in America 2006. God’s Pantry Food Bank has increased its food distribution by 42 percent since the 2006 report.
•Hunger in Central and Eastern Kentucky 2010 Report (PDF)
Hunger in Central and Eastern Kentucky 2010 is the first research study to capture the significant connection between the recent economic downturn and an increased need for emergency food assistance. The number of children and adults in need of food as a result of experiencing food insecurity has significantly increased.
In Central and Eastern Kentucky, nearly 3 in 4 client households are experiencing very low food security—or hunger—while 33% of client households have very low food security.
An estimated 15,400 people receive emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other agency served by God’s Pantry Food Bank. Nationally, more than one in three client households are experiencing very low food security—or hunger—a 54 percent increase in the number of households compared to four years ago.
An estimated 5.7 million people receive emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other agency served by one of Feeding America’s more than 200 food banks, including God’s Pantry Food Bank. This is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in Hunger in America 2006, which reported that 4.5 million people were served each week.
“The results of this report are both astonishing and encouraging,” said Marian Guinn, God’s Pantry Food Bank CEO. “To know that we are reaching 1 in 7 people in our 50-county service area encourages us to continue working to reduce hunger. However, this report also shows us that the need for assistance has grown exponentially in the last four years. We know there is still so much more work to be done to improve the quality of life of our neighbors in need.”
Highlights of the report include:
•The average annual household income for clients was $13,070 and the average household size was 2.8 people.
•27% of households have one or more adults employed.
•41.2% of all client households include children and one in every three of those households are single-parent families.
•18 percent of client households include someone age 65 or older.
•God’s Pantry Food Bank is serving some of the poorest counties in the United States. 12 counties in the food bank’s service area rank in the top 25 poorest in the nation.
•The number of homeless clients (8%) doubled from the 2006 report.
“It is morally reprehensible that we live in the wealthiest nation in the world where one in six people are struggling to make choices between food and other basic necessities,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “These are choices that no one should have to make, but particularly households with children. Insufficient nutrition has adverse effects on the physical, behavioral and mental health, and academic performance of children. It is critical that we ensure that no child goes to bed hungry in America as they truly are our engine of economic growth and future vitality.”
The methodology incorporated into the 2010 study includes data collected from February through June, 2009. God’s Pantry Food Bank conducted face-to-face interviews with 427 people seeking emergency food at food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding programs, as well as interviews with more than 208 agencies that provide food assistance.
Nationally, Feeding America collected quantitative and qualitative feedback from 61,000 face-to-face in-depth interviews with people seeking emergency food assistance and more than 37,000 agency surveys, making this study the largest, most-comprehensive ever conducted on domestic hunger.
The USDA reported in November 2009 that an estimated 49 million people, including 17 million children, are at risk of hunger in this country. Hunger in America 2010 reinforces the dramatically increasing need for food assistance in the United States.