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New Study Shows 25 Percent of Maine Children Live at Risk of Hunger

Good Shepherd Food Bank and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals in Maine an estimated 68,950 children, or nearly 25 percent of children under the age of 18, are struggling with hunger.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher – nearly one in four children are food insecure.

“This new research proves what we’re seeing on the ground here in Maine,” said Rick Small, president and CEO of Good Shepherd Food-Bank. “More children are in need now than ever before. More families are struggling to make ends meet. Hunger has become an epidemic in our state.”

“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data for Maine in an interactive map format:

  • The percentage of the Maine population who is food insecure.
  • The percentage of children in Maine that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
  • The percentage of children in Maine that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.

An executive summary of the report can be found at:

The study is an important tool because it provides critical information for developing strategies to alleviate child hunger. For instance, the study reveals that in Maine, 39 percent of food insecure children live in households that do not qualify for nutrition assistance programs. These children will need alternative sources of support to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the local hunger relief agencies they serve, and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

This research is supported by ConAgra Foods Foundation. The Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need.

The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.

For statistics on poverty and hunger, media inquiries, photos, or interview requests, please contact Clara McConnell at (207) 782-3554 or

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About Good Shepherd Food-Bank

The largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food-Bank provides for those at risk of hunger by soliciting and distributing surplus food to more than 600 partner agencies.  Since 1981, the Food-Bank has partnered with individuals, businesses and farmers to alleviate hunger and build community relationships.  In 2010 the Food-Bank distributed 12 million pounds of food to families and individuals throughout Maine.  Web site:  Phone:  (207) 782-3554. Facebook:  Twitter:

About Feeding America

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit Find us on Facebook at or follow our news on Twitter at