Connecticut Food Bank and the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, Feeding America, are releasing a study today that reveals the number of Connecticut children who are struggling with hunger. The Child Food Insecurity 2012 Study shows Connecticut’s overall child food insecurity rate is 18.8 percent, or 151,530 children state wide. This number is unchanged from last year’s overall rate of 18.9 percent. Food insecurity is a phrase used by the USDA to describe lack of consistent access to adequate amounts of food for an active, healthy life.
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 16.9 percent, or 99,610 children.
According to the study, 48 percent of the food insecure children in Connecticut Food Bank’s service area do not receive federal food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), free or reduced price school meals, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), because their families earn over the income limit to qualify.
The study shows Connecticut’s child food insecurity rates range from 14.9 percent in Middlesex and Tolland Counties, to 21.2 percent in Windham County. Findings for the counties served by Connecticut Food Bank are:
County Percent Number of Food Insecure Children
- Middlesex 14.9% 5,260
- Fairfield 15.5 35,110
- Litchfield 16.5 6,830
- New London 16.9 9,990
- New Haven 19.1 36,750
- Windham 21.2 5,670
Total 16.9% 99,610
“Half of the children in our area who are at risk of hunger often rely solely on our network of soup kitchens and food pantries for help,” said Nancy L. Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank’s president & CEO. “And with food donations at their lowest in the summer months, many of the programs that are already experiencing increased demand for services will have even greater demand when children are home and don’t have access to school meals.”
To help increase awareness about child food insecurity and summer hunger, Connecticut Food Bank and The Farmer’s Cow are currently running the More Milk for Hungry Children eCard campaign that runs until July 4, 2012. For every four electronic greeting cards sent that help spread the word about the problem of summer hunger, The Farmer’s Cow is donating a half gallon of milk to Connecticut Food Bank, up to 5,000 half gallons, during July and August.
The Child Food Insecurity research is a follow up to the Map the Meal Gap 2012: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen. That data provides a detailed look at the food budget needed by families struggling with hunger, which in Connecticut is an estimated $232 million or $16 per week for each food insecure person.
An executive summary of the both studies and interactive map are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.