Press Releases

Foodbank releases new food insecurity numbers for Summit County

May 09, 2017

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2017, 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 2017 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in the Foodbank’s eight-county service area. Overall food insecurity ranges from a low of 10.2 percent of the population in Medina County up to 15.7 percent in Summit County. The national average food insecurity rate across all counties is 14%.

The study also finds that people currently facing hunger are likely falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs.

“Hunger is a reality for every community in every county of our nation, including our own,” said Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “To address the problem of hunger, we must first understand it. The information that Feeding America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Census Bureau provides with this study is what we report, but we wish it was better news. We are actively engaged in the fight to prevent hunger in this community, and this data demonstrates a pressing challenge that is deserving of our local response. This data also reminds me that our ability to do the work that we do, hinges upon public support, and we hope this study moves 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 2016, the Foodbank distributed 28.8 million pounds of food and other essential items to its network of 500 hunger-relief partners like food pantries and hot meal sites.

“It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families at the same time that our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “This study underscores the need for strong federal nutrition programs as well of the importance of charitable food assistance programs, especially the food pantries and meal programs served by the Feeding America network of food banks.”

Key local findings for Summit County:
• 15.7% or 85,110 of the total Summit County population are food insecure
• 20.9% or 24,880 of children in Summit County are food insecure

Map the Meal Gap 2017 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 (NYSE: NLSN), a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by founding sponsor The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at
Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2017 on Twitter using #MealGap.