HILLSIDE – According to a new study released by the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, 13.3% of Union County’s population is food insecure.
“In all of my years of food banking, I have never seen the situation as bad as it has been these last couple of years,” says Kathleen DiChiara, Founder and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
“Map the Meal Gap,” takes a look at ‘meals’ in a whole new way, using county-level data on food costs from The Nielsen Company to break down the food budget shortfall of our residents into an approximation of the meals missing from the tables of people at risk of hunger in New Jersey each year. This study was conducted in the Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s service area, 18 of the 21 counties of the Garden State.
‘“Map the Meal Gap” was also able to compare food costs across counties, showing Cape May and Essex counties to have among the highest food costs in the state.
According to the study,
- 54% of the food insecure population in Union County qualify based on income for SNAP (Foods Stamps) and other federal nutrition programs.
- 47% of the food insecure population in Union County do NOT qualify for federal nutrition programs and often must rely on charitable food assistance programs and also need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
According to Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data analyzed as part of “Map the Meal Gap”, people struggling with hunger estimate they would need about $56 more each month on average during the months that they are food insecure to address the shortages in their food budget. On a county by county level, “Map the Meal Gap” shows that this shortfall represents an estimated 163,829,309 meals in the Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s service area on an annual basis.
A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available on Feeding America’s web site at www.feedingamerica.org
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