What is Hunger

MAMAP5In many ways, America is the land of plenty and most U.S. households have consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living – they are food secure. But, across the country, many others experience food insecurity at times during the year, meaning that their access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money or other resources. It’s a myth that hunger is confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods. Hunger is, in fact, everywhere.

According to the latest report from Feeding America, over 41 million Americans are known to live in food-insecure households: Over 71,000 here in Worcester County in 2018. That’s 1 in 11 people (and 1 in 8 children) in our area.

Across the region, neighbors visit food pantries both in the short term (to sustain them through periods of disability or job loss) and, increasingly, in the long-term as a strategy to supplement monthly shortfalls in food. Pantries and community meal programs have evolved from providing temporary or emergency food assistance to ongoing support for individuals and families including seniors living on fixed income, people with disabilities, and adults working multiple low-wage jobs to make ends meet.

More about hunger in Worcester County

  • According to the latest U.S. Census, 89,860 people in Worcester County (11.4 percent of the population) live at or below the poverty level. Of these, 14.7 percent are children.
  • Not all people living in poverty are food insecure.
  • Some people living above the poverty line are food insecure. Their incomes are insufficient to enable them to afford food alongside other expenses.
  • 8.8% of the population of Worcester County is food insecure according to Feeding America’s latest Map the Meal Gap report.
  • 80,688 people in Worcester County received food assistance from Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) and its network of Partner Agencies – food pantries and community meal programs – in Fiscal Year 2018 alone.
  • Consistently, about 33 percent (1/3) of people receiving food assistance from WCFB and its network of Partner Agencies are children. 13 percent are seniors.

Additional resources

  • Massachusetts Food Insecurity by County 2012 [Website]
  • Project Bread’s 2015 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts [PDF]
  • Food Banks: Hunger’s New Staple [Website]
  • Hunger In America [Website]