AUSTIN, TEXAS – Despite an improving economy, food insecurity continues to remain unchanged throughout Central Texas, according to Map the Meal Gap, an analysis conducted by Feeding America.
The 2015 study estimates 17.9 percent of Central Texans – a slight increase from 17.6 percent in 2014 – were considered food insecure, a United States Department of Agriculture measurement on lack of access, limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food. Food insecurity rose from 24.5 percent last year to 25.4 percent this year among children.
“Poverty is one of many factors that drives up food insecurity,” said Hank Perret, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas President and CEO. “Food insecurity does not just affect the poor; it affects the near poor, families that work and the employed, among many others.”
While Travis County remained statistically unchanged in food insecure residents, surrounding counties are experiencing between 2 and 3 percent increase from last year.
“We’re proud of Austin’s prosperity, but unfortunately many are being left behind. Neighbors are moving out of Austin because they cannot afford the basics of life,” Perret said.
Among the food insecure in Central Texas, 30 percent make too much to qualify for federal nutrition programs such as food stamps.
“When the cost of living is beyond a family’s income, yet, they make too much to qualify for nutrition assistance, it doesn’t mean these families are not at risk of hunger – it means food banks are often stepping in to fill the gap,” Perret said.
For more information about the study, visit www.austinfoodbank.org/mapthemealgap.
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 nearly 46,000 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.