A new study by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and Feeding America shows that nearly 46,000 Central Texans rely on the services of the Food Bank and its Partner Agencies each week. Forty percent of those are among the region’s most vulnerable: children and seniors.
The Hunger in America 2014 study offers a snapshot of households served by the by the Food Bank’s nearly 300 Partner Agencies and mobile food pantry distributions in a twenty-one county service area that’s twice the size of Massachusetts. It documents their circumstances, their challenges, and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes in a region with a steadily increasing cost of living.
In addition to the numbers of people served, the report paints a picture of Food Bank clients that bucks traditional stereotypes of those who seek out hunger assistance. Key findings include:
Hunger isn’t just a homeless issue. 93% of Food Bank clients are not homeless.
The working poor turn to the Food Bank in large numbers. Nearly two-thirds of the Food Bank’s client households had at least one working adult at home in the last year
Food Bank clients are diverse, split nearly evenly in thirds among white, African- American and Hispanic populations.
Many Central Texans are forced to make choices between food and other basic living expenses. 80% of Food Bank clients had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care in the past year; two-thirds had to choose between paying for food and paying for housing.
Food Bank programs play an integral role in everyday food planning. Over 60% of Food Bank clients rely on receiving food from us or one of our Partner Agencies as a part of knowing where their next meal will come from.
Two-thirds of the Food Bank’s Partner Agencies saw an increase in demand during the last year.
SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits, though helpful, leave a food gap for many. 88% of Food Bank clients who participate in the SNAP program say that their benefits cover only three weeks out of each month.
“The Hunger in America study shows us that the face of hunger is not what some people might expect,” said Hank Perret, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. “Many of the people we serve have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Unfortunately, our clients also have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families.”
The increasing need in the region is reflected in feedback from the Food Bank’s Partner Agencies, with two-thirds of them reporting higher client demand and only one-third saying that they have adequate food to meet their clients’ needs.
“As we look ahead to Hunger Action Month in September, it’s important to remember the critical work the Food Bank and our Partner Agencies do every day, and how much more we can all do to fight hunger in Central Texas,” said Perret.
During September, the Food Bank will be sponsoring a number of Hunger Action Month activities designed to educate and engage the public in fun and exciting ways that can make a difference in the fight against hunger. Find out how you can make a difference at www.austinfoodbank.org.
About Capital Area Food Bank of Texas: The mission of Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB) is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger. Founded in 1981, CAFB provides food and grocery products through a network of 300 Partner Agencies and nutrition programs, serving 48,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, CAFB serves 21 counties in Central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. For more information on CAFB and its programs, visit www.austinfoodbank.org.
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 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, community kitchens, and emergency shelters across 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.