Jacksonville, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2014) – A new study by Feeding Northeast Florida and Feeding America shows that an estimated 322,300 people in 17 Northeast Florida Counties turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, and 29 percent are children under age 18 and 15 percent are seniors age 60 or older.
The Hunger in America 2014 local findings reveal that 38,000 people are served each week by programs supported through Feeding Northeast Florida. And, when accounting for multiple program visits, an estimated 1.48 million households turned to Feeding Northeast Florida network programs over the last six months.
The survey of the people who rely on food pantries in Northeast Florida estimates that:
– 84 percent of the households are food insecure.
– 14 percent of the households have no income, 38 percent have annual incomes under $10,000 and 27 percent have incomes between $10,001 and $20,000 – which means 69 percent of client households have income below the federal poverty level.
– 68 percent of the households chose between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care at least once in the last year.
– 79 percent of the households used multiple strategies for getting enough food over the last 12 months, including eating food past its expiration date, growing food in a garden, pawning or selling personal property, and watering down food or drinks
Demographically, half of all food pantry clients in Northeast Florida are white, 40 percent are African American and 3 percent are Hispanic or Latino. Of those served, 76 percent have attained a high school degree or equivalent and 29 percent have attained a post-high school education or college degree.
“The results of this study show us that the face of hunger is one that we all recognize,” said Feeding Northeast Florida President and CEO Bruce Ganger. “Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Too often, our clients also have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families. As we look ahead to Hunger Action Month in September, it is important to remember the critical work Feeding Northeast Florida does every day, and how much more we can do together to solve hunger in Jacksonville and our surrounding communities.”
Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that more than 46 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year – which represents one-in-seven Americans.
The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by Feeding Northeast Florida – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes. It is also the first nationally-representative study that assesses the prevalence of past and current members of the U.S. Military and adult students receiving charitable food assistance.
“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
Hunger in America 2014 was conducted using rigorous academic research standards and was peer reviewed by a technical advisory team including researchers from American University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Urban Institute. Nationally, confidential responses were collected on electronic tablets by 6,000 trained volunteer data collectors.
The study was funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
A summary of the findings is available on Feeding Northeast Florida’s website, and the full report and documentation can be viewed on Feeding America’s Hunger in America Local Reports page. The full national report is available on Feeding America’s website at Hunger in America 2014.
About Feeding Northeast Florida
Feeding Northeast Florida, founded in March 2014, provides food distribution service to more than 107 nonprofit, religious and charitable organizations and is part of Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that lead the fight against hunger in the United States. Feeding Northeast Florida also supports programs that improve food security among the people it serves, educates the public about the problem of hunger, and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.
For more information, visit www.feedingnefl.org or contact 904-513-1333.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout America. Feeding America also supports programs that 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. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.