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 71,000 people struggling with food insecurity.*
*Information from the Map the Meal Gap 2018 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, over 26% 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.
According to The State of Senior Hunger in America 2018, Louisiana now has the highest rate of senior food insecurity in the entire country.* In fact, 1 in 7 seniors in our state are food insecure, meaning they may not know where their next meal is coming from. Seniors who are food insecure are at a much higher risk for health problems, including being 65 percent more likely to be diabetic, and 66 percent more likely to have experienced a heart attack.
Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65. Many are retiring with little or no money in the bank. Many are caring for grandchildren or aging parents. A great many are happily living longer than they expected, but finding the costs of aging to be insurmountable. Others may become disabled due to health issues. These elders of our community deserve to age with dignity and wellness.
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.