Last updated: May 12. 2014 10:46AM - 138 Views

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NEWBERRY COUNTY – New data recovered by the Harvest Hope Food Bank shows that food insecurity continues to remain high in their Newberry County service area. The results came from the annual Map the Meal Gap analysis.

According to the newly released data, 16 percent of Newberry County residents are food insecure, which means 6,000 Newberry County residents do not always know where there next meal will come from.

More startling is that 24 percent of Newberry County children, or 2,030 children, face the pain of hunger every day.

In March, Harvest Hope and its local mission partners provided food to 477 Newberry County families to meet the hunger relief needs of Newberry County residents.

Nationally, South Carolina is twelfth in the nation with an 18 percent rate of statewide population food insecurity, as compared to the nationwide average of 15.9 percent.

Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States.

Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.

“The Map the Meal Gap 2014 study allows Harvest Hope to continue to evaluate and adjust to the hunger needs in our Newberry County communities,” said Denise Holland, CEO Harvest Hope Food Bank. “The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us define the hunger issues plaguing our area and work with the community to find a solution.”

The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to find out how widespread hunger is in their community. The map can be found at harvesthope.org/map-the-meal .

Harvest Hope also works with local service agencies and faith partners to organize food distribution to Newberry County through their Mobile Food Pantries (MFP), and in March delivered food to 63 families in the area through MFP deliveries.

Harvest Hope fills designated MFP boxes with food, loads them on refrigerated trucks and delivers them to scheduled sites to deliver food to those most in need in their own communities.

To meet the hunger needs of the 2,030 at-risk children in Newberry County, Harvest Hope also has Children’s Feeding programs that deliver food to children of struggling families directly in their schools.

In March, Harvest Hope provided meals to 50 school children in Newberry County through the BackPack program, but seeks to expand our Children’s Feeding programs in the area with the help of increased funding and additional site partners.

Soon, Newberry County schools will close for the summer and struggling families of children who receive meals at school through free and reduced price meal programs will seek ways to make sure they have enough food for their tables for the upcoming three months.

Harvest Hope believes that no child should see summer as a time of hunger and suffering, and to prepare for the surge in demand for these families, seeks to raise $1.5 million to ensure they have the resources to provide enough meals for them and turn no family away.

To help Harvest Hope with their funding and resources needed to provide for Newberry County families, visit harvesthope.org.

“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”

The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

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