Report: Kentucky's food insecurity rate higher than national average

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BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) - A new report shows Kentucky children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.

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The report by Feeding America was released Wednesday. The group identifies food insecurities across the country in its "Map the Meal Gap 2019" report.

At 14.9%, the report shows Kentucky's food-insecurity rate is higher than the national rate of 12.5%.

It also shows the food-insecurity rate for Kentucky children is 18%.

"While we are pleased that the overall and child food insecurity rates decreased slightly from the Map the Meal Gap 2018 report, over 660,000 people still facing food insecurity in Kentucky is unacceptable," said Feeding Kentucky Executive Director Tamara Sandberg. "Making matters worse is that many of these individuals do not qualify for federal nutrition assistance programs. They have nowhere else to turn but the charitable food sector, which continues to struggle to keep pace with the need for food assistance. We call on partners in government, business, education, agricultural and faith-based sectors to continue working to close the meal gap and end hunger in Kentucky."

Kentucky counties with the highest food insecurity are disproportionately rural. The food insecurity rate is the highest in Magoffin County at 22.5%. Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Elliott, Fulton, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, McCreary, Owsley, and Wolfe counties also were found to have a food insecurity rate above 20%.

The report says more than 1 million additional meals are needed each year to close Kentucky's meal gap.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at

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