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New Data Shows 319,450 Residents in GLEANERS FOOD BANKS 21-County Service Area Are at Risk of Hunger

06/10/2013

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Contact: Carrie Fulbright, Director of External Relations, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.
             PH 317-829-1765   CELL 317-750-9428    EM cfulbright@gleaners.org

New Data Shows 319,450 Residents in GLEANERS FOOD BANK'S 21-County Service Area Are at Risk of Hunger

 

Indianapolis, IN (June 10, 2013) — A new study finds that 319,450 people in Gleaners Food Bank’s 21-County service area – including 103,800 children – do not always know where they will find their next meal. In all, 15.2 percent of the population in our service area struggle with hunger, according to research released today by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.

The findings are from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both the general population and, separately, for children under the age of 18. The estimates are calculated at both the county and congressional-district level for the entire U.S. Gleaners Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network.

"Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States,” said Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, an international food insecurity expert and the lead researcher of the “Map the Meal Gap” study. “We undertook this research to demonstrate the extent and prevalence of food insecurity at both the county and congressional-district level. This data has the potential to redefine the way service providers and policy makers address food insecurity in the communities they serve.”

“We are particularly concerned about children who are under-nourished. A child who does not receive adequate nutrition may experience behavioral problems, have difficulty concentrating in school, and has an increased risk of medical problems. Lack of adequate nutrition in children, for even a brief period of time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental impairments,” Gundersen said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 50 million people nationwide are food insecure.

By analyzing household income levels, the study reveals that 63% of children at risk of hunger in our 21 county service area are eligible for federal nutrition programs, like free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast; but that 37% are not.

“This data provides specific numbers of food insecure people in each county in our area of service, rather than just an abstraction of percentages and emphasizes the need for hunger relief in our community. No one should have to worry about where they will find their next meal—especially a child,” said Cindy Hubert, President and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

“Map the Meal Gap 2013” also shows:

The cost of an average meal in Indiana. The cost of an average meal in our state is $2.43.
The cost of an average meal in the Indiana relative to the national average. Here in our state, the cost of a meal is lower than the national average of $2.67.
The annual food budget shortfall in Gleaners’ Service Area is the amount of additional money that food-insecure individuals in the area said they would need to put enough food on the table for an adequate diet. In Gleaners Service Area, the total number is $126,552,270.

This is the third year that Feeding America has conducted the “Map the Meal Gap” study. The findings of "Map the Meal Gap" are based on statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; food price data and analysis were provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global information and measurement company providing insights into what consumers watch and buy. The study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Nielsen and The ConAgra Foods Foundation.

Prior to the study’s first release in March 2011, food insecurity data was only available at the state level in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report. The study further analyzes each county's food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance, and also provides meal cost estimates for every county in the nation.

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About Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.
On a yearly basis, over 160,000 food-insecure Hoosiers depend on food and other critical grocery products provided by Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to hunger relief agencies throughout 21 counties in central and southeastern Indiana. Gleaners was founded in 1980 and is a member of Feeding America the nation’s food bank network. Since then, the food bank has distributed over 320 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to over 350 hunger relief agencies serving needy Hoosiers. In addition to food distribution to hunger relief agencies, Gleaners serves our most vulnerable populations, seniors and children, through specialty programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Food (CSFP) Program, BackSacks – Weekend Food for Kids, School-Based Food Pantries, and the Summer Feeding Program. According to the latest Census Bureau estimates, within Gleaners’ 21-county service area, more than 312,000 people live in poverty—and 116,000 of them are children. To learn more, log onto www.gleaners.org.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.