Every four years, Feeding America and its network of food banks participate in a nationwide hunger study. This past August the Hunger in America (HIA) 2014 study results were released. Team GBFB has broken this down in an executive summary of the Eastern Massachusetts results.
The study provides critical data on clients who received food assistance through The Greater Boston Food Bank over the course of 2012-2013. GBFB uses this data to better understand who seeks food assistance from our network of 550 agencies and the challenges they face everyday. The survey yielded responses from 357 of our 550 agency partners and over 300 clients. Overall the report shows that food insecurity in Eastern Massachusetts is growing.
The figures on children and seniors are staggering since these are the most vulnerable populations for whom proper nutrition is critical. Luckily, we are committed to providing healthy and nutritious meals to those in need, and about 25% of the food we distribute is fresh produce.
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the country, which also makes it one of the most expensive states to live in. Food insecurity continues to be driven by economic challenges here. High costs of living and underemployment force many of our clients to make decisions between buying enough food to stay healthy and other expenses.
Imagine having to choose between paying your rent or mortgage or buying food? Filling a prescription or eating dinner? Paying heating and electric bills or feeding your family? Or paying for daycare or feeding you child? Hunger is a silent epidemic affecting friends, family, neighbors and colleagues who typically may not show signs of hunger. There are many faces of hunger.
The Hunger in America 2014 study is important because it influences how we work to achieve our strategic objective of providing One Meal a Day to everyone in need in Eastern Massachusetts. Through our geo-mapping technology we are able to track where the need is the greatest, where our food is going and who is getting it. This year we are on track to distribute close to 50 million pounds of food, which is enough to provide 42 million pounds of healthy and nutritious food to those in need. And, this isn’t enough.