New Data Underscore Need to Protect and Improve Federal Nutrition Programs
Contact: Sara McGovern, email@example.com, 202-640-1089
Baltimore, MD – April 7, 2015 – One in seven people – 14 percent of respondents – in Maryland reported in 2014 they struggled to afford enough food for their households, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
How Hungry is America? provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for the nation, every state, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Baltimore – Towson in Maryland. The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 17.2 percent in 2014.
The report’s Food Hardship Index reveals:
- Maryland was among the states with the lowest levels of food hardship, and ranked 42 out of 50, with 14 percent in the state in 2014 reporting they were unable to afford enough food.
- Baltimore – Towson ranked 74 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 16.5 percent for 2013-2014.
“It is unacceptable that so many people across Maryland cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “These data are more than just numbers. They are households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet. We urge Congress to do right by their constituents and protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs, such as the Food Supplement Program (FSP) in Maryland, and school meals programs. With political will, we can end hunger in America now.”
The Senate and House both recently passed budgets that would subject the federal nutrition programs to staggering cuts. Such cuts would cause irreparable harm to the health and well-being of millions of people across the country who struggle to put food on the table. They also ignore the fact that no community or state is free from hunger, as multiple studies and research continue to demonstrate, especially the data released today.
“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of America. People are still struggling,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president, noting that too many Americans bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, and inadequate safety nets to lift or keep them out of poverty. “Congress and the President must reject cuts to nutrition programs and other programs that benefit low-income people, and build a strong safety net.”
Maryland Hunger Solutions is urging concerned community members to raise their voices and tell their Members of Congress to strengthen – not weaken – the nation’s nutrition safety net. They can do so, for example, by adding their name to a petition in support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2014 for every state and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship.
The full report is available at www.frac.org.