Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hunger up across U.S., especially in Appalachia

An unprecedented number of Americans are seeking charity food, says a new study from the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America reports in a news release "more than 37 million people, one in eight Americans -- including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors -- receive emergency food each year through the nation's network of food banks and the agencies they serve." The data represents a 40 percent increase from the organization's last comprehensive study in 2006.

The study, "Hunger in America 2010," includes data collected from February through June 2009 from 61,000 face-to-face, in-depth interviews with people seeking emergency food assistance at the organization's network of pantries and emergency feeding programs across the country. One of the regional groups participating in the study was God's Pantry, which reports it now serves one in seven people in Central and Eastern Kentucky.

God's Pantry's report, "Hunger in Central and Eastern Kentucky," says 73 percent of client households reported food insecurity, defined as fear of being unable to provide food to oneself or family. The organization reports 310,170 people in the 50-county service area (See map below) live in poverty and the group serves 12 of the 25 poorest counties in the nation. Among those served: Owsley and Clay counties, which the U.S. Census Bureau ranks as the third and fourth poorest counties in the country.

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