Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Hunger At Home: Food Insecurity Still A Problem

Nearly one in three households categorized as "food insecure" had to cut back or alter their eating habits for lack of food.

empty plate

Photo: Melissa Venable (Flickr)

USDA's Kevin Concannon fears "food insecurity" would be worse if not for 15 federal programs designed to combat hunger.

The number of households reporting “food insecurity” remains virtually unchanged since last year.

However things could be worse — levels of those reporting difficulty in feeding their families has dropped slightly since record levels were hit in 2009.

More than 17.2 million households have reported food insecurity, and of those, nearly one in three has reported going without food or having their eating patterns altered due to too little food.

“We are a bountiful country where, clearly, hunger is unacceptable. And we have a moral imperative, really, to take action,” USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services Kevin Colcannon says.

Recent changes in federal services designed to alleviate hunger could impact the numbers further in the future.

Currently more than 45 million people are receiving SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps), and 9 million pregnant women and mothers of young children are receiving WIC benefits. 32 million low income children have access to free and reduced lunch at school.

Under the new budget, food stamp funding would be cut 20 percent next year. By 2015, funding for food stamps would become a block grant, meaning it couldn’t withstand a large need.

“These USDA numbers are a wake-up call for the nation’s governors, who have the power to ensure that more children receive the food they need to grow up healthy, do well in school and keep America competitive,” executive director of Share our Strength Bill Shore said.

Read More:

  • US food hardship rates still high, but hold steady (Kansas City Star)
  • Food Insecurity: 1 in 6 Americans Struggles to Buy Food (ABC News)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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