On Monday, August 18, Feeding America released Hunger in America 2014, the largest and most comprehensive look at charitable food distribution in the U.S.
In 2012 and 2013, Good Shepherd Food Bank participated in the data collection phase of this study. We visited food pantries and soup kitchens throughout our network and administered the agency and client survey. After many months of waiting, we are now able to see the results of this data collection! Just before the HIA 2014 report was released on Monday, we received our state report, and we are in the process of distilling this long, academic-style report into a short, easy-to-read document that highlights the most critical information provided by Feeding America. Good Shepherd Food Bank is planning to release this state report, Hunger in Maine 2014, in September, so stay tuned!
A few of the more striking pieces of data from the study:
§ Good Shepherd Food Bank’s statewide hunger relief network serves 178,000 Mainers each year.
§ These consumers make 1,985,000 visits to our partner agencies each year. This means that, on average, a consumer is visiting an agency 11 times per year.
§ 55 percent of consumers served by our network are children (under 18) or seniors (over age 60).
§ 56 percent of households served by our network are living in poverty; 94 percent have incomes under 150% of poverty.
§ 11 percent of consumers report that a member of the household has diabetes – this is much lower than the national average (33 percent), so we suspect this number is either underreported or underdiagnosed.
§ 41 percent of consumers report that a member of the household has high blood pressure.
§ 26 percent of consumers have no health insurance; 26 percent have unpaid medical bills.
§ 65 percent of households have to choose between food and medicine/medical care.
§ 71 percent have to choose between food and heat/utilities.
§ 52 percent have to choose between food and transportation.
§ These numbers are all higher than the national averages.
(One note about the number of children served by our network – this study underrepresents the number of children served by Good Shepherd Food Bank. Data collection was not conducted at child hunger program sites such as School Pantries and Summer Food Service sites, because the client survey cannot be administered to children. So please keep in mind that, in addition to what is reported in this research, we are also serving more than 200,000 meals a year through our child hunger programs.)
Look for the public release of our state report, Hunger in Maine 2014, next month!