How can 49 million people face hunger in a country that wastes billions of pounds of food? The problem of hunger in our nation is staggering, and right here in Northeast Louisiana there are over 72,000 people struggling with food insecurity.*
*Information from the Map the Meal Gap 2016 study by Feeding America.
Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.
Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.
Information from the Hunger in America 2014 study by Feeding America.
Research shows that children who experience hunger face significant stress and challenges that can have a lasting effect on their physical, cognitive and behavioral development. In Northeast Louisiana, 28% of children are facing hunger.
Hunger affects a child’s ability to learn and perform well at school. Children who experience hunger come to school ill-prepared to learn, are more likely to have trouble focusing in class, and may struggle with complex social interactions and adapt less effectively to environmental stress.
Children who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches are at even greater risk of hunger during evenings, weekends, extended school breaks and other times when school is out. For many, the meals they receive in school are the only regular meals they can count on receiving. Through programs like the Backpack for Kids Program and Kid’s Cabinet School Pantry Program, the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana provides more meals to children at times when they are most at risk of hunger.
Over 20% of the people we serve are senior citizens.* Seniors living on fixed incomes often have to choose between covering the cost of life-saving medications and buying the food they need to stay healthy. At the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure our parents and grandparents have enough to eat. Our Senior Program is dedicated to fighting hunger for low income people over 60.
Statewide, we are facing a huge problem with senior hunger. Louisiana is second behind Washington DC in the percentage of residents 65 or older living in poverty (15%). For a household of one, this means earning less than $11,670 or $15,730 for a household of two. More than 45% of Louisiana residents 65 or older earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level. This is less than $23,340 for a single person household.**