On the heels of distributing a record-setting 31.6 million meals to an estimated 182,000 Mainers experiencing hunger during its last fiscal year, Good Shepherd Food Bank is optimistic that recent federal and state efforts to fight hunger and put money in the pockets of low-income Mainers is helping to improve food security for some individuals and families. Yet, the state’s largest hunger-relief organization warns that Mainers need more support.
A release last week of the Household Food Security in the United States in 2020 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that the overall food insecurity rate for Maine households dipped to 11.4 percent between 2018 and 2020, a decrease when compared to the previous three years. Despite that good news, Maine’s food insecurity rate is still higher than the national average. Maine also ranks fifth in the nation for very low food security rates, a more severe range of food insecurity that involves reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns. More than 31,000 Maine households fall into this concerning category.