Hunger in Your Community

A real and solvable problem, right here at home

Two boys get food with their family at Kent Food BankYou often hear about ‘world hunger’ and imagine a starving child in a continent far away. The reality is that hunger is a real and pressing problem all throughout the United States and right here in Western Washington. Even as we live in a land of plenty, hunger is affecting children, seniors and adults everyday right here at home.

The number of hungry Americans has increased significantly since the start of the Great Recession in 2008. In 2013, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, meaning that they were uncertain of having or were unable to acquire enough food to consistently meet the daily needs of all members of their households. This included 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children.

All of us in Washington State only need to look in our own neighborhoods to find that we too have a local hunger problem. One in 6, or 14.6%, of Washington households were food insecure at some point during 2013, the latest year for which data is available. This means that these households were uncertain of having or were unable to acquire enough food to consistently meet the daily needs of all members of their households.

Unfortunately, Washington continues to lag behind our neighbors in ending hunger, ranking 22nd in overall food insecurity. Oregon ranks 30th nationwide at 13.6%, and Idaho ranks 24th at 14.3%.

Washington falls even further behind when it comes to helping those households struggling with very low food insecurity. Washington ranks 15th nationwide with 6.0% of all households being forced to change how much they eat, when they eat and what they eat because they lack money or other resources to access food.

Learn more about hunger across America with the Map the Meal Gap research provided by Feeding America.

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