Press Releases

Foodbank releases new food insecurity numbers for its eight-county service area

May 02, 2018

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2018, the latest report by Feeding America® on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. Map the Meal Gap 2018 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in the Foodbank’s eight-county service area. Additionally, 37 percent of residents in the Foodbank’s service area who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements just as Congress looks at further restricting eligibility for these programs through the Farm Bill.

Overall food insecurity ranges from a low of 9.6 percent of the population in Medina County up to 15.3 percent in Summit County. The national average food insecurity rate across all eight counties is 13.8 percent.

“Each and every day your Foodbank is committed to working diligently in solidarity with our network of nearly 500 hunger-relief programs to help provide food to our community members struggling with food insecurity,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “This study confirms the critical and continuous work of your Foodbank and helps us better understand how to effectively collaborate with our network. We are actively engaged in the fight against hunger, and this data demonstrates a pressing challenge that is deserving of our local response. This data also reminds me that our ability to do our work within the community hinges upon public support, and we hope this study inspires you to get involved.”

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is one of 200 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger. In 2017, the Foodbank distributed 32.9 million pounds of food and other essential items, the equivalent to 26 million meals, to its network of nearly 500 hunger-relief programs.

“The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks works hard to deliver more than 4 billion meals annually to people facing hunger, yet the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves 12 meals for every one meal provided through our network,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As Congress debates legislation like the 2018 Farm Bill, programs like SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and trying to make ends meet have the essential food resources they need.”

Map the Meal Gap 2018 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Key local findings:
• 15.3 percent or 82,740 of the total Summit County population are food insecure
• 14.4 percent or 53,880 of the total Stark County population are food insecure
• 13.9 percent or 22,500 of the total Portage County population are food insecure
• 13.3 percent or 12,270 of the total Tuscarawas County population are food insecure
• 13.2 percent or 3,720 of the total Carroll County population are food insecure
• 12 percent or 13,940 of the total Wayne County population are food insecure
• 11.5 percent or 5,010 of the total Holmes County population are food insecure
• 9.6 percent or 16,890 of the total Medina County population are food insecure

The study’s findings underscore the depth of need that remains in communities in the Foodbank’s eight-county service area and across the U.S., despite national measures from the USDA that indicate overall improvement. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the USDA as lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.

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