One in Five Households with Children in Massachusetts Report Inability to Consistently Afford Enough Food
Data Also Show Widespread Struggle in Every Congressional District, Underscoring Need to Protect Nutrition Safety Net
Boston, MA– August 11, 2011 – According to a new national survey and analysis of food hardship data released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 20 percent of households with children in Massachusetts reported that they lacked enough money to consistently buy food in the past twelve months.
The report released today examines food hardship rates – defined as the inability of a family to consistently afford enough food during the preceding year. These data are broken down for households with and without children, and are sorted by state, Congressional District, and the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). In Massachusetts these include Boston/Cambridge/Quincy; Providence/New Bedford/Fall River; Springfield; and Worcester.
Findings for food hardship in households with and without children living in Massachusetts include:
“This new report reinforces what we see statewide,” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread-The Walk for Hunger, the state’s leading antihunger organization. “Children, especially those who are living in Massachusetts’ communities that face economic challenges, are the most vulnerable to food insecurity in our state. This new research further illuminates the problems that kids and families struggle with in our own cities of Springfield, New Bedford, Fall River and Worcester. For these families who face such great challenges, the federal nutrition programs like SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) school and summer meals, and WIC offer critical protection against hunger. If these programs are lost or diminished as a result of deficit negotiations in Washington we will see a serious problem escalate into a crisis. This survey brings that fact home.”
The report, Food Hardship in America, is based on data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has interviewed more than one million households across America since January 2008. The report analyzes responses to the following survey question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”
When Congress returns to Washington after its August recess, it will enter the next phase of consideration under the recently passed debt ceiling deal: the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (also known as the “Super Committee”) will hold its first meeting and begin to develop plans to cut an additional $1.5 trillion in spending. Project Bread joined FRAC in urging Congress and the “Super Committee” to protect low-income programs such as SNAP (food stamps), school meals, and WIC from cuts.
The full analysis is available on FRAC’s website.
About Project Bread
As the state’s leading antihunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, Project Bread provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to over 448 emergency food programs in 130 communities statewide. Project Bread also advocates systemic solutions that provide food for families in natural, everyday settings, such as schools, after-school programs, summer programs, community health centers, hospitals, and elder home care organizations. For more information, please visit www.projectbread.org.