Feeding South Florida Reveals Estimated 155 Million Meals Shortfall Per Year In South Florida

Feeding South Florida Reveals Estimated 155 Million Meals Shortfall Per Year in South Florida Through Map the Meal Gap 2013 Updated Analysis of Food Insecurity in the US Comprehensive Report Conducted on Emergency Food Distribution Updated to Report 949,910 South Floridians are Food Insecure, Including 24.4 Percent of South Florida Children

In order to address the problem of hunger, it’s essential to first understand it by making an effort to learn more about the face of hunger in South Florida. By understanding the population in need, Feeding South Florida can better identify strategies for reaching the people who most need food assistance. Map the Meal Gap 2013, an update to the landmark analysis of food insecurity in the U.S., was released today by Feeding South Florida™ and Feeding America®, the nation’s leading domestic organization working to end hunger. Feeding South Florida is one of 202 member food banks of Feeding America.

The study reports a food budget shortfall of 154,861,418 meals, or $15.80 per person per week (a total shortfall of $445,292,570 per year) in South Florida. These are meals missing from the tables of the 949,910 people (17 percent of the South Florida population) at risk of hunger in South Florida. Plus, 24.4 percent of children in South Florida are food insecure, leaving 296,600 children going to bed hungry.

With the updated study, Feeding America, in collaboration with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, took a look at “meals” in a new way, using county level data from The Nielsen Company to break down the food budget shortfall. The study provided an updated look at:

  • Food insecurity rates by county and Congressional District
  • Percent of food insecure population likely eligible for federal nutrition programs by county and Congressional District
  • Number of food insecure people by county and Congressional District
  • Food cost variation for every county across the nation

Statistics revealed for counties served by Feeding South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe) include:

  • 71 percent of the food insecure population in South Florida qualify based on income for SNAP (foods stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 29 percent do NOT qualify for federal nutrition programs, and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
  • $2.94 is the average cost of a meal in South Florida
  • Palm Beach County has the highest percentage of food insecure individuals who do NOT qualify for SNAP and other federal nutrition programs (39 percent).
  • Broward County has the highest percentage of food insecure children who do NOT qualify for federal nutrition programs (39 percent).
  • Miami-Dade County has the highest percentage of food insecurity in South Florida (17.8 percent).
  • Monroe County has the highest food cost index in South Florida at $3.59 per meal, and the highest weekly budget shortfall per food at $19.29.

Statistics broken down by county:
Palm Beach County

  • 16.26 percent of the Palm Beach County population is food insecure, with 212,530 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal.
  • 61 percent of the food insecure population in Palm Beach County qualify based on income for SNAP (food stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 39 percent do not and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
  • $2.97 is the average price per meal in Palm Beach County.
  • The food budget shortfall in Palm Beach County per person per week is $15.96, with a total shortfall of $102,905,240 or 34,648,229 meals.
  • 23.9 percent of children in Palm Beach County are food insecure, meaning, 64,080 children go to bed hungry.

Broward County

  • 16.5 percent of the Broward County population is food insecure, with 286,780 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal.
  • 66 percent of the food insecure population in Broward County qualify based on income for SNAP (food stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 34 percent do not and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
  • $2.98 is the average price per meal in Broward County.
  • The food budget shortfall in Broward County per person per week is $16.02, with a total shortfall of $139,323,990 or 46,753,017 meals.
  • 20.5 percent of children in Broward County are food insecure, meaning, 85,560 children go to bed hungry.

Miami-Dade County

  • 17.8 percent of the Miami-Dade County population is food insecure, with 441,240 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal.
  • 78 percent of the food insecure population in Miami-Dade County qualify based on income for SNAP (Foods Stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 22 percent do not and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
  • $3.01 is the average price per meal in Miami-Dade County.
  • The food budget shortfall in Miami-Dade County per person per week is $16.18, with a total shortfall of $216,522,060 or 71,934,239 meals.
  • 27.4 percent of children in Miami-Dade County are food insecure, meaning, 149,530 children go to bed hungry.

Monroe County

  • 12.8 percent of the Monroe County population is food insecure, with 9,360 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal.
  • 63 percent of the food insecure population in Monroe County qualify based on income for SNAP (food stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 37 percent do not and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
  • $3.59 is the average price per meal in Monroe County.
  • The food budget shortfall in Monroe County per person per week is $19.29, with a total shortfall of $5,478,110 or 1,525,936 meals.
  • 21.8 percent of children in Monroe County are food insecure, meaning, 2,430 children go to bed hungry.

“Unfortunately, South Florida continues to deal with a high unemployment rate, high foreclosure rates and a high cost of living,” said Feeding South Florida CEO Paco Vélez. “Most of the families and senior households we serve must make the difficult choice between paying for food and paying for housing, utilities or much-needed medication. Our friends and neighbors should not have to choose.”

Feeding America first published the Map the Meal Gap project in early 2011, with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, to learn more about the face of hunger at the local level. In August 2011, with the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, child food insecurity data was added to the project.

A summary of the 2013 findings is available at www.feedingsouthflorida.org. The full national report is available on Feeding America’s web site at http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx.

One of Feeding South Florida’s greatest strengths is its partnership with Feeding America, which holds its affiliates to very high standards through consistent audits, inspections and high food safety standards. This distinguishes Feeding South Florida from food banks that are not affiliated with Feeding America. The largest food bank in Florida, Feeding South Florida continues to steadily increase the amount of food it distributes: from 2012 to 2013, it has increased food distribution from 29.6 million pounds to 33 million pounds, including a 42.6 percent increase in Palm Beach County. In South Florida, perceived as a paradise vacation spot, one in four children go to bed hungry – higher than the national average. Hunger does not discriminate: children, working families, seniors, veterans and more are affected every day.

About Feeding South Florida
Feeding South Florida’s mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education. Through a local network of approximately 400 Partner Agencies, Feeding South Florida strives to serve the almost 1 million individuals in need, including approximately 300,000 children, the elderly and the working poor, in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. For more information on how you can get involved in the South Florida community, visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org, call (954) 518-1818 or follow Feeding South Florida on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingSFL or Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingSFL.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

 

Media Contacts:

Sari Vatske, Vice President of Programs & Initiatives
954-518-1842/ svatske@dev.feedingsouthflorida.org

Durée Ross, Durée & Company, Inc.
954-723-9350 / duree@dureeandcompany.com

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