Children and Hunger
August 25, 2010
NEW STUDY SHOWS HIGH RATES OF CHILDREN
LIVING AT RISK OF HUNGER
Over 26% of local youth are missing meals
Map the Meal Gap Child Food Insecurity 2011: Data at the Local Level for the First Time
Texarkana, USA – Aug. 25, 2011 – Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank, Inc and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals that 26.4% of children in the 10 county region served by Harvest Texarkana are struggling with hunger. That means that over 16,500 children under the age of 18 in our area miss meals. This is compared to 18.7% overall nationally.
“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher.
“This study allows us to put a true head count on the number of hungry children in our area. We have known, subjectively, that we have a large number of kids struggling with hunger. Now we have a firm number and can reevaluate and redefine our approach to addressing these needs.” said Jill Whittington, executive director of Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank, Inc.
“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data for the Harvest Texarkana service area in an interactive map format :
o The percentage of the local population who is food insecure.
o The percentage of children in southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
o The percentage of children in our area that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
“Another critical outcome of this study is the realization that 20% of these food insecure children do not qualify for federal child programs such as school meals and WIC due to income that is above 185% of the federal poverty line.” said Whittington. “These children fall between the gap and struggle every day. Their only option is the charitable food system provided by Harvest Texarkana and our network of pantries, kitchens, and shelters.”
Information about attending the luncheon and all the Hunger Action Month activities is available by calling Harvest Texarkana at 870-774-1398. A summary of the report, as well as information about how you can donate or volunteer, can be found at harvesttexarkana.org.
By providing additional details about the face of CFI at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.
This research is supported by ConAgra Foods Foundation. The Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need.
The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.
For more information about child hunger nationwide visit: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap/map-executive-summary-child.aspx
The full report from July 2010, including a complete list of all 50 states, is available at http://feedingamerica.org/our-network/the-studies/child-food-insecurity.aspx.