More than 50 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, are food insecure, meaning they live at risk of hunger.
Food insecurity: USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.
- 16 million Americans are living with very low food security.
- Very low food security: Food insecurity in the household that reaches levels of severity great enough that one or more household members have reported multiple indications of reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns due to insufficient resources for food.
- 37 million Americans receive food and groceries from Feeding America each year, including nearly 14 million children and 3 million seniors.
- 5.7 million Americans are fed by the Feeding America network every week.
- More than 1 in 5 children live at risk of hunger.
- 1 in 6 Americans is food insecure.
- 1 in 7 Americans lives at or below the poverty level.
- 1 in 7 Americans uses SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps).
- 1 in 8 Americans is currently served by Feeding America.
Hunger disproportionately affects African Americans and Latinos.
• 1 in 4 (25 percent, 4 million) African Americans households are food insecure.
• More than 1 in 4 (26 percent, 4 million) Latino households are food insecure.
National Meal Cost Calculation
The Meal Cost Calculation (formerly known as the Efficiency Claims) is commonly used throughout the network as a way to express the value we provide to our communities through the generosity of donors. The language usually takes the form of "$1 helps provide X meals."
Each individual food bank in our network will have their own efficiency claim based on their operations and cost structure. Their efficiency claim will reflect their role which is to raise funds and secure, store and distribute food and work with local agencies to feed people in need.
Each $1 donated to Feeding America helps us provide 8 meals to those at risk of hunger.
- $1 = 10 pounds of food
- $1 = 8 meals
- $1 = $16 worth of groceries*
One meal is equal to 1.2 pounds. This number reflects total U.S. food and beverage consumption across age groups, excluding water. The pounds per meal estimate is calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) and is based on the biannual study What We Eat in America (WWEIA).
Fast facts, according to CDC Overweight & Obesity 2011, www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html:
- Over 2/3 of adults are overweight or obese
- Nearly 1/3 of children aged 2-19, is overweight or obese
- 40 percent of African American and Latino children are overweight or obese
- 1/3 of children born after the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime
- Obesity affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, income and education levels; however, the highest obesity rates continue to be found amongst racial and ethnic minorities, those with lower education levels and lower income levels and in rural populations.
- Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.
- Poverty and food insecurity are associated with lower food expenditures, low fruit and vegetable consumption and lower quality diets.
The Feeding America network is committed to ending child hunger in America. Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity.
Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation. Nearly 17 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.
The problem of child hunger is not simply a moral issue. Scientific evidence suggests that food insecure children are less likely to become productive citizens. Research has shown that food insecurity and hunger can pose serious threats to children’s health, growth and development. Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children, particularly for low-income children. The nation’s economic growth depends on the well-being of our children. As such, the existence of child hunger in the United States threatens future American prosperity.
More than 1 in 5 children live in food insecure households in the U.S.
In response to these needs, Feeding America’s child hunger strategy focuses on providing food to children at risk of hunger at times when they need it most: after school, on weekends and vacations, during the summer and at home.
In Fiscal Year 2012, Feeding America’s national child hunger programs combined served over 84 million meals to children.
Feeding America provides food to 3 million seniors annually.
According to Hunger in America 2010, among client households with seniors, 30 percent have to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.
To address the nutritional needs of seniors, Feeding America has set a goal to increase the number of meals served to the senior population through the network by 25 percent over five years.
Some targeted senior programs operated or supported by the Feeding America network include: Senior Brown Bag and Box, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Senior Home Delivered Meals, Senior Congregate Meals, and Senior Mobile Delivery.
15 percent of rural households are food insecure, an estimated 3 million households.
Rates of food insecurity among rural households are generally lower than urban households, but slightly higher than the national average. The irony is that many of these food insecure households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Challenges facing rural areas differ from metro/urban areas in several significant ways:
- Employment is more concentrated in low-wage industries
- Unemployment and underemployment are greater
- Education levels are lower
- Work-support services, such as flexible and affordable child care and public transportation, are less available
- The rural marketplace offers less access to communication and transportation networks
- Offers companies less access to activities that foster administration, research and development