According to Study, 12.9% of Residents in Eastern IA/Western IL Struggle with Hunger
DAVENPORT, IOWA- River Bend Foodbank announced the release of the annual Map the Meal Gap study, which details the startling rate of food insecurity experienced by community members in their 22-county service area. Map the Meal Gap 2015 results reveal that food insecurity disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations, including over 49,000 children.
Food insecurity is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's measure of lack of access at times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
"At River Bend Foodbank, we are constantly working to increase our capacity to close the Meal Gap," said Michael Miller, Executive Director. "While we were very pleased to increase our distribution to over 7.3 million meals in 2014, food insecurity rates have increased by an even greater amount."
Nationally, 15.8% of the population is food insecure, with 21.4% of children being food insecure. Furthermore, 43% of those who are food insecure are above the income threshold for food stamps, now called SNAP.
Other key findings local to River Bend's 22 counties:
· 49,710 children are food insecure, increasing from 20.6% to 21.5%.
· 131,900 people overall are food insecure, increasing from 12.4% to 12.9%.
· The total number of meals missed increased from 22,196,800 to 23,346,200.
Map the Meal Gap 2015 is based on an analysis of statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. The study, commissioned by Feeding America, is a detailed analysis of the nation's food insecurity. An interactive map is available that allows viewers to explore the issue of hunger in Iowa/Illinois and across the country. The map along with an Executive Summary of the study can be found at riverbendfoodbank.org/hunger.htm and then click on "Map the Meal Gap."
"Map the Meal Gap 2015 provides unique insight into the prevalence of food insecurity in each county and congressional district in our nation," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. "It will help policy makers and our elected officials understand the challenges they face in addressing hunger in the communities they serve."
The study is supported by the Founding Sponsor Howard G. Buffett Foundation as well as the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen. The food price data and analysis were provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global provider of information and insights. The lead researcher is Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory, and member of Feeding America's Technical Advisory Group.
County and congressional district food-insecurity details and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org/ .
River Bend Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organization in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities, distributing more than 8.8 million lbs. of food annually to more than 300 charitable feeding programs throughout a 22-county service area in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Hunger programs include the Backpack Program which provides over 2000 children with nourishing food to take home on weekends during the school year, the Kids Café Program providing evening meals to children at three sites, Mobile Food Pantries which directly feed thousands of families each month, and School Pantries which serve needy children and their families.