FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202-986-2200 x3018
Nearly One in Five Americans Report Inability to Afford Enough Food
FRAC Releases 2011 Food Hardship Data, with Rates for the Nation, Regions, States, 100 Large Metropolitan Areas, and Every Congressional District
Washington, D.C. – February 27, 2012 – New food hardship data from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) show continuing struggles with hunger for millions throughout 2011, as nearly one in five Americans said there were times they didn’t have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed.
FRAC’s food hardship report (pdf) analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” The report contains data throughout 2011 for every state, region, congressional district, and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). Gallup asked the question of 352,789 households in 2011.
Nationally, 18.6 percent of respondents reported food hardship in 2011, an increase from the 2010 level of 18 percent and the highest annual rate in the four years that FRAC has been tracking these data. Food hardship reached every part of the country:
“Rising food prices, continuing high unemployment and underemployment, and flat food stamp benefit allotments all contributed to the high food hardship rate in 2011,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Particularly challenging was the increase in food inflation, especially for the foods the government uses to construct the Thrifty Food Plan, its cheapest diet. Food stamp beneficiaries lost more than six percent of their food purchasing power because of this increase.”
- Mississippi has the worst rate among states, with one in four households (24.5 percent) reporting food hardship, but 30 states have more than one in six households answering “yes” and the “best” state, North Dakota, still had one in ten households struggling with food hardship.
- While California is home to two of the worst MSAs (Fresno and Bakersfield), 96 of the 100 largest MSAs had at least one in eight households reporting food hardship in 2011.
- The five worst congressional districts are in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas, but 384 congressional districts had at least one in eight households reporting food hardship.
- Regionally, the hardest hit were the Southeast and Southwest regions. Every region except for the Mountain Plains had higher food hardship rates in 2011 than in 2010.
The report was released as more than 700 anti-hunger advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. for the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, sponsored by FRAC and Feeding America. The conference will culminate on Tuesday (February 28, 2012) with a day on Capitol Hill, and attendees will share state, MSA, and congressional district data with their lawmakers.
Recent polling data, released last month by FRAC, demonstrate the broad support among Americans for the federal nutrition programs and for a stronger role by government in ending hunger. Seven in 10 voters said the federal government should have a major role to ensure that low-income families and children have the food and nutrition they need. Seventy-seven percent of voters say that cutting food stamp assistance (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) would be the wrong way to reduce government spending.
“Even in difficult times, this nation has the resources to eliminate hunger for everyone. It is crucial that the nation strengthen employment and wages, and improve the federal nutrition programs so benefits are more adequate and so they reach more households. These data show that no state or urban area or congressional district is anywhere close to being hunger-free, and that more must be done to solve this problem,” said Weill. “Polls demonstrate that Americans want the government to attack hunger aggressively, and they reject attempts to cut anti-hunger efforts. It is time to demand that elected officials tackle hunger with the zeal that the situation – and the public – demand.”
The full report is available at www.frac.org.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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ACTION Alert: Attend upcoming hearings on revenue bills- pack the room!
At a 10:30am press conference today, the Senate Budget will be released (Senate Hearing Room 4), and a public hearing is scheduled for 5:30pm this afternoon in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Tomorrow (2/29) at 10:00am in House Hearing Room A, the House Ways & Means Committee will hear several revenue bills, including Rep. Jinkins' capital gains tax (HB 2563) and Rep. Carlyle's bill to sunset and review all existing tax preferences (HB 2762).
We need to provide a very strong showing of support to underscore the need for new forms of revenue to prevent further devastating cuts.
The AHNC 2012 Legislative Agenda calls for a balanced approach to the state budget as one of our top priorities. In just the past three years, our legislature has already cut $10 billion from education, healthcare and other essential services.
Cuts have been felt in all programs, including hunger-relief programs. We continue to urge the Governor and the legislature to take a balanced approach to addressing our state budget, including new sources of revenue and reviews and reforms our current tax exemptions and expenditures.
Without new sources of revenue, hunger relief programs and other critical services Washingtonians rely on are in jeopardy.
Please share this alert with your networks. We will continue to send out critical updates and information on opportunities for action as they become available.
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Friday, February 24, 2012
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URGE YOUR STATE LAWMAKERS TO PROTECT ANTI-HUNGER PROGRAMS AND INCREASE REVENUE
The state house released its budget this week and the senate is expected to release theirs soon. The house budget maintained funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (which helps to keep the lights on and shelves stocked at food banks), school nutrition (free and reduced breakfast and lunch) and the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (which provides vouchers to low-income women, infants, children and seniors to purchase fresh produce at farmer’s markets). It did not fully fund the State Food Assistance Program (the state food stamp look-alike program for legal immigrants), instead continuing to fund the program at 50%.
The budget also failed to provide significant additional revenue sources. By foregoing this discussion, the necessary decision of additional revenue and a more balanced approach to solving our current and long-term budget challenges is only delayed. It merely places a band-aid on a hemorrhage that none of us can stop with spending cuts alone.
Click the link below to send a letter to your lawmakers and:
1. Thank them for preserving some important anti-hunger programs.
2. Ask them to fully fund the State Food Assistance Program.
3. Adopt additional sources of revenue to provide a more balanced approach to solving our budget deficit now and in the future.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
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From Anti-HUnger & Nutrition Coalition: ACTION Alert: Contact lawmakers immediately in support of hunger relief programs
The next state economic forecast will be released on Thursday, Feb. 16. We have heard that the House plans to release their budget proposal this Friday or next Monday – please call your Representatives today and ask them to protect the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition’s priorities: State Food Assistance (DSHS), Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (DOH), Emergency Food Assistance Program (WSDA) and school meals (OSPI).
In anticipation of the House and Senate budgets, a number of lawmakers across the state are hosting town halls this weekend. Invite your clients, board members and/or volunteers to join you in letting your legislator know that safety net programs, especially anti-hunger programs, need to be preserved. The other critical message they need to hear is that you – and/or the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition - support robust revenue options to fund these and other essential programs. The town hall schedule is attached.
The Olympian published an editorial last weekend that urges strong support for hunger relief and nutrition programs. http://www.theolympian.com/
2012/02/12/1987097/we-must- maintain-a-reliable-source. html We encourage folks to join in on the
‘comments’ section and speak up for the positive impact of our anti-hunger
DSHS will host a community brown bag event on February 29th in Tacoma, to provide an update of all program changes in the past 6 months in the Community Service Division, and an opportunity to ask questions for clarification.
February 29, 2012
11:30am to 1:00pm
Evergreen State College—Tacoma Campus
1210 6th Avenue Room 104
gov by February 24, 2012
United Way of King County is hosting a Hunger Action Forum on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at the Seattle Center. Join food security experts, advocates, policymakers and other community members to discuss: access to nutritious food; childhood hunger; senior hunger; and, public policy and advocacy.
Check-in: 8:30am (Rainier Room lobby)
Forum: 9 am – 4 pm
Seattle Center, Northwest Rooms
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
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WFC Members Kris Van Gasken of the Des Moines Area Food Bank and Kevin Glackin-Coley of the St. Leo Food Connection provided a presentation to the Nourishing Networks on how to begin and successfully run a backpack food program for local kids. The audio below presents incredibly valuable teaching on what they've learned.
Click here to download the audio file.
You can also click here to download and listen to a question and answer session that followed their presentation.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Contact: Julie Washburn
Phone: (206) 729-0501
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 A.M. PST, JANUARY 30th, 2012
Olympia, Washington, February 2nd, 2012: Harvest Against Hunger Area Summit Comes To Olympia
Washington Food Coalition is coordinating Harvest Against Hunger Area Summits across Washington to bring the emergency food community together with local specialty crop farmers and their commissions to help these groups learn how their businesses intersect and potential options for growth. We need farmers and producers to attend and find valuable new ways to bring their product to market!
On Thursday, February 3rd, there will be a Harvest Against Hunger Olympia Area Summit being held at the United Churches of Olympia from 10 am-1 pm. This will be the third of four Area Summits being held across Washington within a year. The first was held in Wenatchee in September of 2011, and the second in Yakima in January of this year.
Harvest Against Hunger Area Summits are the result of a collaborative partnership between Washington State Department of Agriculture, Rotary First Harvest and the Washington Food Coalition. Using funds from the WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, these groups are working together to find new ways to connect resources with opportunities by bringing together groups that might not otherwise have an opportunity to share ideas and resources.
Over the years, Washington food producers have worked with many hunger relief organizations to help combat hunger in our State. The Harvest Against Hunger Area Summits are designed to bring together these organizations to share ideas and insights about ways that farmers, processors, packers and hunger relief organizations can more effectively work together to alleviate hunger in our communities.
Hunger and poor nutrition have adverse effects on communities in every region of Washington. Without access to proper nutrition, children and families struggle to grow, stay healthy and excel in life. Food banks, meal programs and other groups across the state are working to increase the amount of Washington-produced foods that are available, and they need meaningful connections with producers to identify opportunities that are both effective and sustainable. This innovation and collaboration is critical as the number of families facing hunger continues to grow in Washington due to the current recession.
Anyone who works with or has interest in fighting hunger or strengthening local food systems is welcome at these events.
The final summit is scheduled for:
Seattle Area Summit February 13th, 2012 Hansen Conference Center (Everett, WA)
To see more details and register for these FREE events, go to www.WashingtonFood.smartevents.com
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