Hunger in America 2010

February 10, 2010

We are constantly consumed by the interests and desires of our paying customers, but rarely stop to think of all those who are not as fortunate.

We are constantly consumed by the interests and desires of our paying customers, but rarely stop to think of all those who are not as fortunate.  Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2010 report released in January is the largest study of domestic hunger ever conducted, and provides a detailed look at who is in need, how the need is met, and by whom.  The goal of the report is to better understand hunger in America so that the issues can be properly addressed. Feeding America is an organization that strives to alleviate hunger in both the short and long term.

Some of the Hunger in American 2010 key findings:

  • Thirty-seven million Americans are served annually by Feeding America, including nearly 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. Seventy percent of households have incomes below the federal poverty line.
  • Approximately 5.7 million people receive weekly emergency food assistance. A 27 percent increased from 2006 results, which reported 4.5 million served weekly.
  • Seventy-six percent (10 million) client households served are food insecure; they do not always know where they will find their next meal. Thirty-six percent are sometimes completely without food.
  • Seventy-nine percent (11 million) of households with children served are also food insecure.
    Thirty-nine to 46 percent of client households served report having to choose between paying for utilities or rent or a mortgage and food.
  • Thirty-four percent of households report having to choose between paying medical bills and food, while 35 percent must choose between transportation and food.
  • One in four do not have health insurance and nearly half have unpaid medical bills.
  • Forty-one percent are receiving SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits, an increase of 64 percent over 2006.
  • Fifty-four percent of client households with children ages 0 to 3 participate in the WIC program, compared to 51 percent in 2006.
  • Sixty-two percent with school aged children participate in the federal school lunch program and 54 percent in the school breakfast program.
  • Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters. The majority rely solely on volunteers.

Feeding America is involved in the distribution of food and grocery products to people in need, as well as increasing public awareness, connecting clients with federal benefits and advocating for policies that support low-income Americans to ultimately end hunger. Feeding America has conducted five studies; Hunger in America 2010 is the most comprehensive to date. Over 61,000 face-to-face client interviews and more than 37,000 local agency surveys were conducted. The information gathered, details who is in need which, in turn, helps organizations develop programs that best support the hungry. Results also better inform public policy so that federal nutrition programs can better serve those in need.
Giving back to the community is something we can all take part in; knowing these statistics and where our efforts currently stand is part of the foundation on which we can build programs. The current efforts by Feeding America and its partners as well as other organizations are truly remarkable, but as the statistics reveal there are still a significant amount of people who go hungry on a daily basis. Engage your company, the employees, and customers in the conversation about hunger in America. Programs involving customers help create a sense of community and enables greater participation. Evaluate your overstock and produce management systems, is there an opportunity there for donating to feeding centers? Be an active member in your community and play your part!
For more information and to view a copy of the full study visit Feeding America.