Food Security Coalition

Empower Missouri is dedicated in making sure every household in Missouri has healthy meals.

The Food Security Coalition is a multi-sector team of dedicated advocates who work to ensure that every Missourian, especially children, can access sufficient nutritious food. We advocate for key food security reforms at the state and federal level that build momentum to end hunger across the state. 

At Empower, we believe that key policy changes can help decrease the burden on the nonprofit sector by improving access to government-run social safety net programs, improving job training opportunities and pushing for living wages that allow families to afford adequate food, and eliminating food deserts in rural communities around the state. 


  • 13.2% of Missourians live in poverty.
  • One in 7 households in Missouri struggle to put food on the table. 
  • People in rural areas and households led by people of color experience hunger at disproportionately high rates.
  • Food banks in Missouri distribute over 120 million pounds of food every year


Food access is foundational to living a long and successful life. Additionally, having access to enough healthy food, especially during childhood, will have a lifelong effect on a person’s health. Between 2017-2019, almost 12% of Missourians were living in households that were food insecure. To help support their families and to make ends meet each month, many of these families access help from private charities and government funded nutrition programs.

In Missouri: 

  • More than 550,000 children receive a free or reduced price lunch during the school year. 
  • 691,375 individuals receive SNAP benefits. 
  • Nearly 100,000 participants are in the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program. 
  • Additionally, according to Feeding Missouri, the 6 major food banks in Missouri distribute over 120 million pounds of food every year through over 1,500 community feeding programs located all across the state.

The risk for food insecurity increases when money and lack of transportation to buy food is limited or not available. People living in poverty often face financial limitations, which hinders their ability to access sufficient nutritious food. When food prices rise, or the incomes of poor people fall, there is a risk of hidden hunger, where people switch to lower-priced foods that fail to adequately meet their nutritional needs.

THE PLAN – Ending Hunger in Missouri 

Ending food insecurity in Missouri requires private as well as public support. Private charities can and do play a role in addressing hunger in our communities, but they cannot do it alone.  Our government should ensure every person in our country has enough resources to be able to access enough healthy food to support their bodies. There needs to be comprehensive policy and programmatic strategies at the governmental level to fully address the need.  

Empower Missouri recommends these long-term proposals to address hunger in Missouri:

  • Streamline nutrition program implementation for the state and non-profit partners and streamline access to nutrition programs for families. 
  • Increase outreach and education about the benefits of WIC, with increased participation in the program as the ultimate goal. 
  • Expand access to affordable and nutritious food in rural areas by addressing food deserts. 
  • Address, through policy changes, barriers for seniors and people with disabilities with accessing nutrition programs.

Click HERE to view our events page to learn when the next Food Security Coalition meeting will be held. It is staffed by Christine Woody.

The work of the Food Security Coalition is partially funded by a grant from the Food Research and Action Center. The Food Security Coalition also works with many other national partners including: The Center on Budget and Policy PrioritiesBread for the WorldCoalition on Human Needs.

Use the form below to let us know that you’re interested in joining our Food Security Coalition.