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New Report: Children at risk of hunger in every county in Maine

A new study released by Feeding America shows that children continue to struggle with hunger in every county in the nation with nearly one in four children in Maine at risk of going hungry.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2012” gives a one-of-kind look at the occurrence of children living on the brink of hunger in the U.S. at a county and congressional district level. The report includes an interactive map that gives users the ability to look at the specifics of food insecurity in any county in the US.

In Maine, the report finds that 61,020 children, or 22.8 percent of Maine kids, may not know where their next meal will come from. This number is down slightly from last year, when it was reported that 24.6 percent of Maine children were food insecure. Maine counties with the highest rate of child hunger are Washington, Piscataquis, and Somerset.

The report also found that of the 61, 020 food insecure kids, about 35 percent may not be eligible for federal nutrition programs like free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast because of income restrictions.

By providing the information at a county level, agencies and civic leaders can assess where the need is greatest to help feed the more 16 million children nationwide who are at risk of hunger. Good Shepherd Food Bank will provide more than 13 million pounds of food this year to its network of 600 partner organizations across the state. Forty percent of the people served by this hunger relief network are children.