Rates of food insecurity have slowly improved as the decade-long economic recovery has continued. Unfortunately, according to Feeding America’s newly released Map the Meal Gap 2019, Ohio’s food insecurity rate of 14.5 percent is much higher than the national rate (12.5 percent) and the Midwestern average (11.4 percent).
Food insecurity is higher among households with children. About 1 in 5 children in Ohio (19.6 percent) live in families that can’t always afford enough food on their own. In several rural counties (Monroe, Meigs, Adams, Vinton, Scioto and Guernsey), that rate is 1 in 4 or higher.
“From Appalachian Ohio to the metro areas, Ohioans face steep challenges in making their incomes stretch to cover all of their expenses,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “Food is the one part of their budget they can cut out if they have to when the other bills come due and they have to put gas in the car to get to work. But all of us suffer when our neighbors and friends are eating cheaper, less nutritious food or even skipping meals to get by.”
“Food insecurity is a complicated issue that will take big-picture, forward thinking to solve,” said Hamler-Fugitt. “As foodbanks, we can’t give low-wage workers a raise or bring down housing costs or increase access to affordable healthcare or public transportation. We’re counting on policymakers to continue focusing on those long-term solutions to household stability. But we can do our part to make sure that every person in Ohio has access to three wholesome meals each day.”
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