New Hunger Data Shows Rise in Shelby County
July 12, 2013
NEW DATA SHOWS 204,130
RESIDENTS OF SHELBY COUNTY
ARE AT RISK OF
Memphis, TN (June 10, 2013) — A
new study finds that 204,130 people in Shelby County – including nearly 50,000 children
– do not always know where they will find their next meal. In all, 22.1 percent
of the population in Shelby County struggle with hunger, according to research
released today by Mid-South Food
Bank and Feeding America, the
nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. This is an increase of one
percent, or more than 8,600 people, over last year.
The findings are from Feeding
America’s “Map the Meal Gap”
study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both the general
population and, separately, for children under the age of 18. The estimates are
calculated at both the county and congressional-district level for the entire U.S.
Mid-South Food Bank is part of the
Feeding America network.
By analyzing household income levels, the study reveals
that 65 percent of children at risk of hunger in Shelby County are eligible for
federal nutrition programs, like free or reduced-price school lunch or
breakfast; but that 35 percent are not.
insecurity and hunger are a reality for every community in our nation,
including our own," said Estella Mayhue-Greer, president & CEO of
Mid-South Food Bank. "Whether it's
the child who goes without lunch when school is out, the parents who go without
dinner so the children can eat or the senior who must have food for their
medicine to work properly, everyone needs adequate food and proper nutrition to
is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States,” said Dr.
Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois,
an international food insecurity expert and the lead researcher of the “Map the
Meal Gap” study. “We undertook this research to
demonstrate the extent and prevalence of food insecurity at both the
county and congressional-district level. This data has the potential to
redefine the way service providers and policy makers address food insecurity in the communities they serve. We are
particularly concerned about children who are under-nourished. A child who does
not receive adequate nutrition may experience behavioral problems, have
difficulty concentrating in school, and has an increased risk of medical
problems. Lack of adequate nutrition in children, for even a brief period of
time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental impairments,” Gundersen
According to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, more than 50 million people nationwide are food insecure.
This is the third year that
Feeding America has conducted the “Map the Meal Gap” study. The findings of
"Map the Meal Gap" are based on statistics collected by the U.S.
Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; food price data and
analysis were provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global information and measurement
company providing insights into what consumers watch and buy. The study was generously
supported by the Howard
G. Buffett Foundation, Nielsen
ConAgra Foods Foundation.