Feeding America, the largest anti-hunger organization in the United States that includes a network of 200 food banks, updated its recent “Map the Meal Gap” report with revised food insecurity statistics based largely on unemployment data during the pandemic.
When the organization released its first post-pandemic report last May, it showed a startling rise in food insecurity across the nation, including a projected 45 percent rise in the 10-county area that Foodlink serves. In recent weeks, Feeding America’s latest report shows an improved outlook of a 25 percent rise in food insecurity. It’s still, of course, a sharp rise from the 2019 study, but better than a year ago as the pandemic was in the midst of its first spike.
How does this translate to the sheer amount of people who lack reliable access to healthy foods for everyone in their household?
In Foodlink’s 10-county service area, the revised 2020 food-insecurity rate stands at 13.9 percent, up from 11 percent in 2019. That translates to 173,580 people, including 57,930 children.
Allegany County showed the highest food-insecurity rate at 15.9 percent, however that represented the smallest rise (15 percent) compared to 2019. On the flip side, Ontario County showed the lowest rate at 12 percent, however that was the largest rise (27 percent) compared to the year prior. In Monroe County, the food-insecurity rate is currently 14.3 percent (or 106,240 people), which also represented a 27 percent rise.
In total, more than 35,000 people who were food secure before the pandemic hit are now struggling to afford enough food for their households.