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New USDA Survey Indicates Both Progress and Setbacks for Maine

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By Ryan Fecteau, Communications & Marketing Coordinator

The United States Department of Agriculture released its annual survey of Food Security in U.S. Households and the results show both progress and setbacks for Maine. While Maine’s food insecurity rate decrease slightly from 16.2 percent to 15.8 percent, the state now resides in the top 10 states in the nation for chronic and persistent hunger.

Food insecurity refers to a household’s lack of access to adequate amounts of nutritious food throughout the year. Maine now ranks 9th in the nation and remains 1st in New England for food insecurity.

The rate of very low food security in Maine, which indicates an ongoing or chronic struggle with hunger, decreased from 16.2 percent to 15.8 percent.

According to Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap research, Maine has a “meal gap” of 36 million meals per year, meaning if this number of additional meals were available, all Maine households would be food secure.

Good Shepherd Food Bank distributed more than 23 million meals through its network of partner food pantries, meal sites, and schools in 2015. The organization’s distribution has grown dramatically in recent years – up from 9.8 million meals in 2010.