Earlier this month, the Food Assistance and Hunger in the Heartland Report was released. This is a first of its kind-a comprehensive research study about nutrition access and hunger commissioned by a Missouri based entity! Feeding Missouri, the association of the six Missouri based Feeding America Food Banks, commissioned this statewide research project from the MU Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security with the goal of documenting the impacts of hunger in our state. Unlike other data from national partners or even the Federal Government, this study delves deeper into who is food insecure and what non-profit agencies are doing to address it. Researchers gathered data for this report via surveys to both direct service agencies (food pantries) and to individual clients.
Key findings of the report include:
- Within the Feeding Missouri network, 392,368 unduplicated (unique) clients are served in an average month.
- 42 percent of all households have at least one adult over the age of 65 and 41 percent have at least one child under 18 years of age.
- 66 percent of client respondents identify as Caucasian/White and 19 percent identify as African American/Black.
- 54 percent of all households make $15,000 or less per year.
- 77 percent of households have incomes making them eligible for SNAP, but only 41 percent of client households have used SNAP in the previous year.
- 46 percent of households had to choose between paying for food and utilities and 38 percent had to choose between paying for food and medicine/medical care in the past 12 months.
- 61 percent of households purchased the least expensive food in the past 12 months, even if it wasn’t the healthiest option.
Empower Missouri looks forward to using the report and this data as we continue to educate our state lawmakers about food insecurity and food access issues across our state. Thanks to Feeding Missouri and the MU Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security for all of their work on this report. Visit www.feedingmissouri.org to access the entire report.