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Childhood Hunger on the Rise

New Study Details Child Food Insecurity at Local Level
Nearly 19 percent of Connecticut’s Children at Risk of Hunger

We’ve been saying one out of every six children in Connecticut is food insecure. But today’s release of data shows a much more disturbing number. It’s nearly one out of every five children in this state – which sharply contrasts with our reputation as the state with the highest per capita income. How can a state with so much wealth allow this many children to struggle with hunger?

Today, Connecticut Food Bank and the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, Feeding America, released a new study which reveals that children are struggling with hunger in every county and congressional district in Connecticut at an overall rate of 18.9 percent.

The Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011 study shows the child food insecurity rate in Connecticut ranges from 16.4 percent in Middlesex County to 22.8 percent in Windham County. In Connecticut Food Bank’s service area which includes Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven, New London, Middlesex and Windham Counties, the child food insecurity rate is 18.7 percent, or nearly one in five children.

“The study also confirms our assessment that half of the children living in food insecure households in Connecticut are not eligible for federal child nutrition programs because they live in a households with incomes over the threshold to qualify,” said Nancy L. Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank’s President and CEO. “They often rely on Connecticut Food Bank and its member programs for food assistance.” These federal programs include SNAP (food stamps), reduced-price school meals and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The child food insecurity rates in the counties served by Connecticut Food Bank are:

Fairfield County: 38,980 children or 17.3% of all children
Litchfield County: 7,710 children or 18.2%
New Haven County: 40,100 children or 20.5%
New London County: 10,880 children or 18.2%
Middlesex County: 5,860 children or 16.4%
Windham County 6,080 children or 22.8%
Total for Connecticut Food Bank’s service area: 109,610 children or 18.7 % of all children

“The prevalence and consequences of our nation’s child food insecurity problem are well documented, but our efforts to adequately address the problem have been hindered by a lack of data at the local level,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. “This new information addresses this need by providing first-ever data about the prevalence of child food insecurity at the county and congressional district level.”

The research is a follow up to the Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen. This data provided the first detailed look at the food budget needed by families struggling with hunger, which in Connecticut is an estimated $199 million.

The ConAgra Foundation funded the child food insecurity research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need.

Connecticut Food Bank serves approximately 600 community-based feeding programs in six of Connecticut’s eight counties: Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham. Connecticut Food Bank distributes more than 31 tons of food every business day. For more information about Connecticut Food Bank, visit www.ctfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTFoodBank or follow our news on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CTFoodBank. To donate and help in our fight against hunger, click here.

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

This article was posted in Advocacy, Childhood hunger, Nutrition, Recession.

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