South Florida Continues to Face Hunger Challenges

South Florida Continues to Face Hunger Challenges

According to the Annual Map the Meal Gap Report, 11.8% of South Floridians are Food Insecure

PEMBROKE PARK, FL – May 2, 2018 – Feeding South Florida announced the Map the Meal Gap 2018 report by Feeding America on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district levels. Map the Meal Gap 2018 uncovers that food insecurity exists in every county in Feeding South Florida’s service area. Overall, food insecurity ranges from a low of 9.1 percent of the population in Miami-Dade County up to 14.3 percent in Broward County. The national average food insecurity rate across all countries is 12.9 percent.

According to the Map the Meal Gap report, a food budget shortfall of 120,661,900 meals occurs every week, a total shortfall of $408.7 million per year in South Florida. These meals are missing from the tables of 706,130 people at risk of hunger in South Florida. Most striking about these statistics is that 19.4 percent of children in South Florida are food insecure, meaning approximately 240,190 children go to bed hungry every night.

“While food insecurity in South Florida continues to decline in households, there is a growing number of individuals who don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs and therefore have to rely on emergency programs,” said Paco Vélez, President and CEO of Feeding South Florida. “In order to meet these individuals’ basic needs, they need better wages and employment opportunities.”

Feeding South Florida is one of 207 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger. Locally, Feeding South Florida rescues and distributes 46 million pounds of food each year through direct-service programs and a network of nearly 400 nonprofit partner agencies throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Feeding South Florida is the largest and most efficient provider of emergency food assistance in each county it serves. For every $1 donated to Feeding South Florida, they provide 6 meals.

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

“Although the numbers of food insecure individuals is decreasing, the need is ever-present as the cost of living increases and wages remain stagnant for low-wage paying jobs”, said Sari Vatske, Feeding South Florida’s executive vice president. “The folks that are in need of assistance experience greater need than years prior and rely more on emergency food programs as a way of life.”

Key local findings:

Palm Beach County
13.6% percent of the Palm Beach County Population is food insecure, with 189,940 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal. The food budget shortfall in Palm Beach County per person, per week is $19.79, with a total shortfall of $114,009,000.

Broward County
14.3% of the Broward County population is food insecure, with 265,760 people not knowing where they will get their next meal. The food budget shortfall in Broward County per person, per week is $19.25, with a total shortfall of $155,181,000.

Miami-Dade County
9.1% of Miami-Dade County population is food insecure, with 241,620 people not knowing where they will get their next meal. The food budget shortfall in Miami-Dade County per person, per week is $19.45, with a total shortfall of $142,536,000.

Monroe County
11.4% of the Monroe County population is food insecure, with 8,810 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal. The food budget shortfall in Monroe County per person, per week is $22.59, with a total shortfall of $6,036,000.

To view Feeding South Florida’s complete Map the Meal Gap analysis, click here.

Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2018 on Twitter using #MapTheMealGap

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For more information, please visit feedingsouthflorida.org. To request an interview with a representative of Feeding South Florida and learn more about how they are closing the gap, please contact Christina Rodriguez of Mad PR at 954.446.5470 or christina@yeswearemad.com.

About Feeding South Florida
Feeding South Florida® is a member of the Feeding America® network of food banks and the leading domestic hunger-relief organization serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Our 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. Feeding South Florida rescues 46 million pounds of food annually, serving 706,130 individuals in need of food assistance – 240,190 of whom are children and nearly 110,000 are older adults. Feeding South Florida is the largest and most efficient food bank in each county it serves, providing for 25% of the state’s food insecure population, through a local network of nearly 400 nonprofit partner agencies and direct service programs. Visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org for more information.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout 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 http://www.feedingamerica.org/.