Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity can show up in many ways from lack of variety in food to reduced food intake. People of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences can be affected.
Of households with low food security surveyed in a recent USDA-led review:
97 percent worried that their food would run out before they got money to buy more
96 percent reported that the food they bought did not last and they couldn't afford more
94 percent could not afford to eat balanced meals
Food insecurity in the US had reached its lowest point since the 1990s until the Covid-19 pandemic caused a dramatic increase in both unemployment and poverty. Food insecurity has improved since the pandemic but is projected to take a long time to recover.
1 in 10 people in the US turned to food banks and other charitable food organizations in 2021
9 million of those served by food banks are children
9 out of 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rates are rural
During the Covid-19 pandemic nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households experienced food insecurity and local organizations stepped in to help. A group of these organizations, from a military-focused foundation to an urban school district, shared their experiences.
Learn about how 5 community-based organizations are working to address food insecurity across the U.S.
FoodCycle LA partners with food retailers to divert fresh food from landfills to local communities experiencing food insecurity, diverting the equivalent of 60,000 surplus meals per week.
Chicago Public Schools
Over 75% of CPS students are economically disadvantaged and many rely on school for food. When the pandemic hit, CPS reacted quickly, offering grab-and-go meals and meal delivery options.
Massachusetts Military Support Foundation
Despite serving their country, active-duty military families and veterans can be impacted by food insecurity. The Massachusetts Military Support Foundation provides food support to those who served.
Baylor Collaborative on Hunger & Poverty
Baylor created its Meals to You program to deliver shelf-stable meals to the doorsteps of children in rural Texas. In 2020, they collaborated with the USDA to expand delivery to additional states. The program has served 39 million meals rather than 3 million as initially stated in the video.
University of Michigan, Maize & Blue Cupboard
Over 30% of U-M students experience food insecurity. U-M's student-led Maize & Blue Cupboard program ensures that students facing food insecurity have access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food.