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Hunger Fact Sheet

Hunger in the U.S.

Millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table every day and are turning out in record numbers to get assistance from their local food banks. In fact, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture report that the number of Americans who lack consistent access to adequate food has soared to as high as 48 million, including 17 million children—the highest levels since the USDA began tracking food insecurity nearly 15 years ago.

A Growing Challenge

As high unemployment and lingering financial uncertainty continue to create an unprecedented need for emergency food, many food banks are left struggling to meet demand.

  • 99 percent of food banks report an increase in demand for emergency food assistance; driven by more first-time users as well as the newly unemployed.
  • 72 percent of food banks report that existing clients need assistance more frequently.
  • More than half of food banks report they have had to turn people away in the last year.

*Source: Feeding America’s 2009 Economical Impact Survey of 176 food banks nationwide

The Face of Hunger

About 5.7 million, or 1 in 50 Americans, receive emergency food assistance from Feeding America in any given week.

  • 38 percent are children under the age of 18.
  • 48 percent live in suburban or rural areas.
  • 36 percent of households served include a working family member, dispelling a common misconception that hunger only affects the unemployed or homeless.

Source: Feeding America’s “Hunger in America 2010” report based on completed in-person interviews with 61,085 clients served by Feeding America’s network, and completed questionnaires from more than 37,212 Feeding America agencies.

The Impact of $10

Monetary donations are the most effective way to aid hunger relief. Food banks leverage volunteers and partnerships within the food industry to stretch every dollar. Just ten dollars has the potential to provide eighty meals for men, women and children who are food insecure.



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