Hunger is everywhere and affects more people in our community than one might expect. Food insecurity reaches beyond the homeless and beyond the soup-kitchen lines – it affects many who were recently living comfortably in the middle class.
What does it mean to be “food insecure?”
Food insecurity exists when people lack sustainable physical or economic access to enough safe, nutritious, and socially acceptable food for a healthy and productive life. Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal, or temporary.
Based on the most recent Feeding America Study…
- There are an estimated 6,420 food insecure individuals in La Plata County missing at least 1 meal per day.
- 52% of food insecure county residents do not qualify for SNAP benefits. They are the working poor – families and seniors who are just falling short but are contributing members of our society.
- 5% of La Plata County’s children are experiencing hunger.
- 31% of those children come from homes that are likely ineligible for SNAP benefits.
- The average cost of a meal in La Plata County is $3.78.
Children who live with hunger are more likely to…
- Develop behavioral issues,
- Have lower grades in school,
- Require hospitalization more frequently, or
- Be at greater risk for chronic illness.
The Ripple Effects of Hunger
The personal cost of hunger to a child, or to families who can’t afford to feed their children, is tough for many to imagine. While the value of a meal to a hungry child is immeasurable, the fact is that when we pull together as a community to feed our neighbors, we directly contribute to the long-term health, vibrancy, and economic stability of our community.