2013’s “Map the Meal Gap” study released today by Feeding America, shows 14.5 percent, or 520,350 of Connecticut’s residents are food insecure, and it would take more than $239 million to meet the needs of Connecticut’s food insecure population, or $15.16 per week for each food insecure person. Those figures are an increase over last year’s data which showed a 13.8 percent food insecurity rate, with a $231 million budget shortfall in Connecticut.
Middlesex County has among the highest food costs in Connecticut ($3.26 per meal) , with New Haven County having the highest (14.4%) food insecurity rate in the state. In Connecticut Food Bank’s service area, 48 percent of the food insecure population does not qualify for food stamps or other federal food assistance program. In Connecticut, the overall number is 57 percent, up 5 percent over last year’s data.
Child Food Insecurity rate on rise
In Connecticut Food Bank’s service area, which includes Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham Counties, the child food insecurity rate is 19.2 percent, or 99,670 children. Connecticut’s county-level data of child food insecurity ranges from a low of 14.2 percent in Tolland County, to a high of 20.9 percent in Windham County. The state’s overall rate is 157,550 children, or 19.8 percent. Nationally, the child food insecurity rate is 22 percent.
“These numbers are no surprise to Connecticut Food Bank and our network of soup kitchens and pantries who continue to see an increase in demand for their services,” said Nancy L. Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank’s President and CEO. “If food insecure people do not qualify for federal assistance, they often must rely on sources such as Connecticut Food Bank’s member programs to feed themselves and their families. For example, of the 107,010 food-insecure residents of Fairfield County, 50 percent are ineligible for food stamps because they earn over the income limit to qualify. This means that their primary source of emergency food is a local food pantry or soup kitchen.”
View an online interactive map which provides data for each county.