insecurity rates in the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Southwest Florida service area
are higher than overall child food insecurity rates across the country,
according to the Map the Meal Gap 2019 report released today by Feeding
America. In Southwest Florida, 20.4 percent of children are food insecure vs.
17 percent of children nationwide.
That means of
the 227,645 children in Southwest Florida, 46,470 are food insecure. The rate
of child food insecurity for the state of Florida is also 20.4 percent.
Chapin Food Bank serves Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.
The study shows that food insecurity exists in the overall population of every
county, with 151,610 people, or 11.8 percent of a total 1.28 million
population, suffering from food insecurity.
Map the Meal
Gap looks at food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and
congressional district level. It is the only study that provides food
insecurity data at the local level. People who are food insecure may not know
where their next meal is coming from. The
USDA defines food insecurity as limited or uncertain access to enough food for
all members of a household to live an active, healthy life
“There isn’t a single state or county in
America free from child hunger, and it is within our collective power to change
that and ensure that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Claire
Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive officer of Feeding America. “The Feeding
America nationwide network of food banks is investing in our nation’s future by
helping to provide over 146 million meals to children every year. Still, Map the Meal Gap highlights that more
must be done. Together food banks, corporations, policymakers, donors,
volunteers and advocates can solve hunger.”
everyone to visit the website, map.feedingamerica.org
to find out what hunger looks like in their community and get involved to be
part of the solution,” Babineaux-Fontenot continued. “One way is to tell
Congress to invest in kids during Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation
and increase access to food for kids during the summer. Your voice matters and
we can make a difference.”
insecurity in the individual counties in the Harry
Chapin Food Bank’s service area ranges from a low of 10.1 percent in Collier
county up to 14 percent in Glades County. The rate for child food insecurity
ranges from 19.4 percent in Collier County to 23.3 percent in Hendry County.
Yet, the trend over the last three years shows that food insecurity in the
Southwest Florida are is inching ever so slowly downward. That trend is
example, in the 2017 Map the Meal Gap study, overall food insecurity in
Southwest Florida was 13.1 percent vs. 11.8 percent today, and child food
insecurity was 22.6 percent vs. 20.4 percent today.
“It is the mission of the Harry Chapin Food Bank to
lead our community in the fight to end hunger,” said Richard LeBer, food bank
president and CEO. “We’re pleased to see continuing slight improvement in
food insecurity in Southwest Florida, but recognize the need to keep working
hard to feed our neighbors. No one needs to go hungry in our
community. The Map the Meal Gap study underlines the urgency of this
About the Harry Chapin Food Bank
The Harry Chapin Food Bank,
an affiliate of Feeding America, is the leading hunger-relief organization in
Southwest Florida. The food bank solicits, collects and stores food for
distribution to families and others in need through a network of more than 150
nonprofit agencies in Collier, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties,
providing food to about 28,000 people a week.
For every dollar donated, the
food bank can provide $8 in food value. In fiscal year 2017-18, The Harry
Chapin Food Bank distributed 24 million pounds of food and other grocery items,
including 6.4 million pounds of fresh produce. The food, valued at $41.5
million, is the equivalent of 20 million meals for people in need.
The Harry Chapin
Food Bank is also a United Way partner agency. For more information or to make a donation,
call (239) 334-7007 or visit harrychapinfoodbank.org.
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief
organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and
60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46
million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent
food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the
public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects
people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find
us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.