Hunger Action Month Way of the Day: Share 20 Hunger Facts About Central Texas

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

The hunger crisis is in every community in the United States, and central Texas is no different.  Our hunger problem has roots in federal policy and reflects our priorities statewide and in our local communities.  The results of our collective decisions and priorities are represented in facts below.  Share this blog post and start a dialogue about why we have these problems.

20 Hunger Facts About Central Texas

  1. In 2008, 13 percent (322,572) of central Texans lived in poverty. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates)
  2. In 2008, 17 percent (110,571) of central Texas children lived in poverty. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates)
  3. About 48,000 different people receive emergency food assistance from CAFB in any given week. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  4. CAFB serves nearly 300,000 people each year. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  5. Forty-one percent of CAFB clients are children. Nine percent of the households CAFB serves have least one member age 65 or older.  (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  6. Ninety-five percent of CAFB Partner Agencies say they could no longer serve their clients if the Food Bank shut down tomorrow. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  7. More than one-third of CAFB’s older clients go extended periods without food. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  8. One in five families served by CAFB experience the physical pain of hunger. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  9. Almost half of CAFB clients have at least one working adult at home. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  10. Almost half of the families CAFB serves have to choose between buying food and paying utilities. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  11. Eighty-two percent of CAFB clients are not homeless.  (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  12. An estimated 123,000 children are served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas each year. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  13. In 2008, 110,571 (17 percent) of central Texas children lived in poverty. The rate of poverty for children under 18 is higher than for adults. ( Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates)
  14. Sixty-four percent of households with children under the age of 18 served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas participated in a school lunch program, but only 7.1 percent participated in a summer feeding program that provides free food when school is out. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  15. Fifty-four percent of client households with children under the age of three served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  16. Forty-three percent of pantries, 29 percent of kitchens, and 14 percent of shelters partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas reported “many more children in the summer” being served by their programs. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  17. In the May 2010 benefit month, 54 percent (161,660) of all SNAP participants in central Texas were children.  (Source: Texas Health and Human Services Commission)
  18. During the 2009-2010 school year, more than 237,000 economically disadvantaged children in Central Texas were eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch.
  19. More than one-third of CAFB’s older clients go extended periods without food. (Source:  Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report)
  20. In the May 2010 benefit month, seven percent (11,696) of all SNAP participants in central Texas were age 65 and above.  (Source: Texas Health and Human Services Commission)

Definitions:

Food Security: Food security is the condition of having regular access to enough nutritious food for a healthy life. In the United States, the concept of food security is assessed using the U.S. Food Security Scale, an official, government-sponsored evaluation instrument that captures food security at the household level. The Census Bureau administers the U.S. Food Security Scale annually in its national Current Population Survey, and the USDA Economic Research Service analyzes the data and publishes a report on Food Security in the U.S each year.

Food Insecurity: Food insecurity is the condition of not having regular access to enough nutritious food for a healthy life. High and low levels of food insecurity are differentiated based on the duration and severity of food-insecure periods. In the U.S., having access to nutritious food requires that the food be physically present in the local food system (e.g. supermarkets; other food stores; markets; restaurants; and food vendors), and that households have sufficient financial resources to purchase it. Thus, poverty is the major proximal cause of food insecurity in the U.S.

The Food Insecurity Continuum: On the least severe end of the spectrum, food insecurity manifests as household members’ worries or concerns about the foods they can obtain, and as adjustments to household food management, including reductions in diet quality through the purchase of less-expensive foods. There is generally little or no reduction in the quantity of household members’ food intake at this level of severity, but micro-nutrient deficiencies are common.

As the severity of food insecurity increases, adults in the household often reduce the quantity of their food intake, to such an extent that they repeatedly experience the physical sensation of hunger. Because adults tend to ration their food as much as possible to shield the children in the household from the effects of food insecurity, children do not generally experience hunger at this level of insecurity, though their diets tend to be extremely poor in nutrients.

In the most severe range of food insecurity, caretakers are forced to frequently reduce children’s food intake to such an extent that the children experience the physical sensation of hunger. Adults in households with and without children consistently experience more extensive reductions in food intake at this stage.

Hunger: Hunger, defined as the uneasy or painful sensations caused by a lack of food, occurs when food intake is reduced below normal levels. Hunger is both a motivation to seek food and an undesirable consequence of lack of food. Though experienced by everyone episodically, hunger becomes a social problem when the means of satisfying the drive to seek food, and of relieving the uncomfortable or painful sensations that accompany hunger, are not available or accessible due to lack of resources.

Food Deserts: Food Deserts are large and isolated geographic areas where mainstream grocery stores are absent or distant.

Economically Disadvantaged Students: A student who is a member of a household that meets the income eligibility guidelines for free- or reduced-price meals (less than or equal to 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines).

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