FACE OF HUNGER IN MAINE REVEALED BY NEW GOOD SHEPHERD FOOD BANK REPORT
Largest, Most Comprehensive Analysis of Charitable Food Assistance in Maine Reports 178,000 People Served by Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Network Annually
AUBURN – OCTOBER 14, 2014 – A new study by Good Shepherd Food Bank and Feeding America, Hunger in Maine 2014, shows that 1 in 7 Mainers, or an estimated 178,000 people, turn to Maine food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. This includes more than 50,000 children and 45,500 seniors.
Feeding America’s national study, Hunger in America 2014, found that more than 46.5 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. Good Shepherd Food Bank has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1994.
Hunger in Maine 2014 shows that 38,100 people are served each week by programs supported through Good Shepherd Food Bank. Accounting for multiple program visits, nearly 2 million clients turned to Good Shepherd Food Bank’s network programs over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting their local food assistance agency nearly every month – an average of 11 times a year.
The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by Good Shepherd Food Bank – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes.
“The results of this study show us that the face of hunger is one we might recognize,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Too often, our clients also have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families. It’s important to remember the critical work our statewide network of food assistance charities does every day, and how much more we can do together to solve hunger in Maine.”
HIGHLIGHTS from Hunger in Maine 2014:
- 28 percent of clients served by Good Shepherd Food Bank’s network are children (under 18)
- 26 percent of clients served are seniors (over 60)
- For 59 percent of client households, the most-employed person worked in the past year
- In 57 percent of client households, the most-employed person is not currently working
- Among those households where the most employed person isn’t currently working, 59 percent are retired and an additional 38 percent are disabled
- Thirteen percent of client households have at least one member in poor health
- Forty-one present of households have a member with high blood pressure
- Sixty-five percent of clients have to choose between paying for food or medical care/medicine
- Seventy-one percent of clients have to choose between paying for food or utilities/heat
“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
Hunger in America 2014 was conducted using rigorous academic research standards and was peer reviewed by a technical advisory team including researchers from American University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Urban Institute. Nationally, confidential responses were collected on electronic tablets by 6,000 trained volunteer data collectors.
The study was funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
A summary of the findings is available at gsfb.org/hunger-in-maine-2014. The full national report is available on Feeding America’s website at Hunger in America 2014 feedingamerica.org/HIA_hunger_in_america.
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About Good Shepherd Food Bank
As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to 600 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, and youth programs. Together with its network, the Food Bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships. In 2013, the Food Bank distributed more than 15 million pounds of food to families, children, and seniors in need throughout Maine. Website: www.feedingmaine.org; Phone: (207) 782-3554; Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine; Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine.
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 46.5 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/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
Contact: Clara Whitney
Good Shepherd Food Bank