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June 20, 2013

No County in the United States is Free of Food Insecurity

by PBUnitedWay

Feeding America’s recently-released Map the Meal Gap analysis reinforces a startling reality: No county in the United States is free of food insecurity.

Over 50 million Americans are food insecure, including over 16 million children. Feeding America estimates that 22.4% of children in the United States live in households facing food insecurity.

Every year, Feeding America compiles its interactive Map the Meal Gap tool, which increases the understanding of hunger at the county level and provides geographically-targeted solutions to feed people in need.

64,080 children in Palm Beach County are food insecure — that’s 23.9% (slightly above the national average) of children in the county.

But what exactly is food insecurity?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as having limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods. Contrary to popular belief, food insecurity is not synonymous with poverty, though a fair amount of overlap exists. In fact, data from the USDA reveals that 56% of those struggling with hunger had incomes above the federal poverty level. Furthermore, 58% of poor households are food secure. Families located in areas with a high cost-of-living or who face unexpected medical expenses can easily see their resources drained.

Only 64% of food insecure individuals are likely income-eligible for federal nutrition assistance programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps). 37% are likely not income eligible. These millions of individuals must instead rely upon charitable response.

Realizing that measuring need by local poverty rates alone offers an incomplete picture of the need for nutritional assistance, Feeding America aspires to help end hunger by presenting its data-driven Map the Meal Gap tool and measuring food insecurity on a local level. This tool will help charities across the country fight hunger on local level.

The Town of Palm Beach United Way funds multiple organizations and programs helping to end hunger in Palm Beach County, including Adopt-A-Family, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, CROS Ministries, Caridad Center, Farmworker Coordinating Council, Feeding South Florida, Glades Initiative, and The Lord’s Place.

These organizations provide services such as food pantries, gleaning programs, emergency food supplies, food banks, and soup kitchens. Your support of the Town of Palm Beach United Way helps Palm Beach County LIVE UNITED to end hunger.

Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors like you. Although some of the needs since 1945 have changed, the Town of Palm Beach United Way is still helping people who struggle with hunger, homelessness, job loss, abuse, mental illness, and more.  To find out more about the Town of Palm Beach United Way visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.   On behalf of the community we serve, THANK YOU for the difference you make. 

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