Report: Nearly 55,000 children in the region face food insecurity

June 5, 2024 – Feeding America’s newly-released Map the Meal Gap report reveals that in 2022, 54,710 children within Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland’s (FAKH) 42-county service area faced food insecurity. This statistic translates to approximately one in five children within the region.

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.

In this year’s report, there is a notable escalation in childhood food insecurity in FAKH’s service region compared to previous years. In the FAKH service area, last year’s study identified four counties with childhood food insecurity rates exceeding 20%. However, this year, a staggering 36 counties within FAKH’s service area report childhood food insecurity rates surpassing 20%.

Among these concerning statistics, three counties in FAKH’s service area stand out as they rank among the top 10 counties in Kentucky for the highest number of food insecure children. Warren County secures the fourth position with 6,220 food insecure children, followed closely by Hardin County at fifth with 5,350 food insecure children and Christian County at sixth with 5,270 food insecure children. In the Western region of FAKH’s service area, Fulton County stands out with the second highest rate of childhood food insecurity in Kentucky, reaching a striking 34.5%.

Charles Dennis, Executive Director of FAKH, said these figures illustrate the importance of FAKH’s mission and the urgency of campaigns such as the “Pasta Bowl,” FAKH’s annual Feeding Kids campaign to raise funds and awareness to fight childhood hunger in Kentucky’s Heartland.

“In the face of such urgency, our programs become a lifeline for area families who struggle to feed their children,” he said. “The alarming data from this year’s report underscores the growing demand that FAKH and our extensive network of over 250 agency partners have been tirelessly addressing for years. This ongoing effort is made possible solely through the support of our community.”

All donations for the Pasta Bowl campaign benefit FAKH’s Feeding Kids efforts, funding crucial programs such as the BackPack Program, which ensures that children receive a backpack filled with food every weekends, and the School Pantry Program, which allows families to select food for their households directly at their child’s school.

In the past year, FAKH has distributed 461,066 pounds of food to area children through Feeding Kids programming.

To learn more about food insecurity in FAKH’s region, visit www.feedingamericaky.org/hunger-here/ or view the Childhood Food Insecurity by County chart here.


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