In 2006 the U.S. government replaced “hunger” with the term “food insecure” to describe any household where, sometime during the previous year, people didn’t have enough food to eat. By whatever name, the number of people going hungry has grown dramatically in the U.S., increasing to 48 million by 2012—a fivefold jump since the late 1960s, including an increase of 57 percent since the late 1990s.
*Image Source: National Geographic
There are 59,610 children living under these conditions today in homes across north Alabama.
77% of north Alabama’s food insecure children live in households qualifying for at least one federal nutrition program such as free or reduced meals at school or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps).
These crucial federal programs do much to address hunger but the aid does not fully meet the need and critical gaps remain:
Children who depend upon free or reduced priced meals at school are often at risk of hunger on weekends, holidays, and over the summer.
By the third week of the month, food costs typically exceed help received from federal nutrition programs.
Children up to five years old are too young to attend school where free meals are served.
23% of food insecure children in north Alabama (13,872 children) live in homes ineligible for any federal food aid like free or reduced meals at school.