139,020 Kentuckians face food insecurity in the Heartland, new data shows

The latest Map the Meal Gap data from Feeding America shows that 139,020 people in Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland’s (FAKH) 42-county service area were food insecure in 2021.

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is linked to various detrimental social and health consequences and is recognized as a significant concern within the realm of public health.

Jamie Sizemore, Executive Director of FAKH, said the annual Map the Meal Gap study provides key insights for the organization.

“This valuable data helps us understand the extent of food insecurity in our region and guides our efforts to combat this pressing issue down to the county level,” she said.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Overall food insecurity in the FAKH service area ranges from 8.8 percent in Nelson County up to 16.4 percent in Green County.
  • Childhood food insecurity in the FAKH service area ranges from 9.7 percent in Nelson County up to 24 percent in Fulton County.
  • The total food insecurity rate among older adults (50-59) in the FAKH service region is 14.6 percent (approximately one in seven), totaling 77,726 food-insecure individuals, while the total food insecurity rate among seniors in the region (60 and over) is 6.9 percent (approximately one in 14), totaling 76,479 individuals.

Despite a decrease in the overall food insecurity rate in the FAKH region in 2021 compared to the previous year (which stood at 152,230), the region continues to face a persistent and urgent challenge of food insecurity due to the discontinuation of numerous food assistance programs implemented during the pandemic, compounded by the current surge in inflation and escalating grocery prices.

Last year, FAKH distributed over 17.4 million pounds of food which provided enough food for over 14.5 million meals in their 42 county service area which valued $26.5 million.

“Our critical work continues in each of the 42 counties we serve as we pinpoint key programs that will help better meet the needs of our neighbors facing hunger. The team at FAKH and our network of local agency partners are committed to the fight of ending hunger,” said Sizemore.

To view our specific impact in your county, see our county impact reports below:

Central Region: Breckinridge, Casey, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Ohio, Taylor and Washington counties.

Southern Region: Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Russell, Simpson, Warren and Wayne counties.

Pennyrile Region: Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, Muhlenberg, Todd and Trigg counties.





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