Hunger Prevalent Across Texas Counties
May 2, 2012 at 10 p.m.
The Texas Food Bank Network (TFBN) today released local results from "Map the Meal Gap," a national study by Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, estimating the rate of food insecurity in every Texas county and congressional district. Statewide, 18.5%, or 4.7 Million Texans experienced food insecurity in 2010. Families are considered food insecure if they struggle to afford enough food for an adequate diet.
"This new data shows how widespread hunger is in Texas," said Celia Cole, CEO of TFBN. "No Texas county is untouched by hunger."
"Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States due to the physical, mental damage and behavioral problems it may cause," said report author Dr. Craig Gundersen, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. "By ascertaining the extent and distribution of food insecurity at the county and congressional district level, we can better direct our resources to alleviating this serious problem."
The report is released as Congress debates key legislation affecting the federal nutrition safety net. Last week, House Agriculture Committee Members advanced proposals to slash the budget of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) by $33 Billion. OMB estimates that these cuts would remove 302,800 Texans from the program and reduce the benefits of 3.6 Million more.
Federal spending reductions will not erase the needs of hungry families, who may overwhelm private charity if federal programs are cut.
"The food banks need more supply, not more demand," said Cole. "Our statewide network of charities cannot do this job alone. We need to keep our nation's investment in nutrition strong."
The Texas Food Bank Network provides a unified voice among twenty food banks in support of a common mission to end hunger in Texas. <em>www.endhungerintex.org</em>