Statement may be attributed to Fred Glass, President and CEO, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana:
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Economic Research Service released its annual Household Food Insecurity in the United States report, which examined American households’ ability to access sufficient food in 2022. While the results of this report may have been a surprise to some, they were not a surprise to Gleaners or our network partners.
The number of people living in food insecure households in the United States in 2022 increased to 44 million, including 13 million children, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is an increase of 31% for all individuals and 44% for children from the previous year, the highest rate and number of individuals and children since 2014 and the largest one-year increase in food insecurity since 2008.
Data shows that Gleaners and other hunger relief organizations had been able to meet the increased need during the height of the pandemic due to a number of factors: generous financial donations, an increase in government commodities, and a variety of economic supports such as increased SNAP eligibility and benefits, the Advance Child Tax Credit, school feeding programs available to all, and more. As each of these supports was peeled away, Gleaners saw an immediate spike in the number of households in our lines.
Today, most of the enhanced supports are gone, and combined with increased costs in key areas that greatly impact households with limited means: housing/rent, food, utilities, and the like, families are under more economic pressure. People are working, and wages have increased, but not as fast as inflation in these categories.
Food banks, like Gleaners, are stepping into the breach to source and distribute nutritious food with less support during a time of increased need. We, and our partners, need funding to continue to meet this heightened and prolonged need.