Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed? If so, you are not alone.
New food hardship data from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows the continuing prevalence of hunger among Ohioans, as 19.8 percent of Ohioans answered yes to that question in 2011. Ohio Ranks 18th nationally, an increase from 23rd in 2010, according to the report.
FRAC’s food hardship report analyzes data collected by Gallup as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. The most recent results reflect the increasing need experienced by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF) and its network of 12 Feeding America foodbanks.
“Over the past three months, our greater network of more than 3,300 member food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters served more than 2.3 million Ohioans unable to obtain the basic necessity of food on their own,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, OASHF executive director.
“Our foodbanks are hard-pressed to fill the gaps between adequate nutrition and food hardship for Ohio’s families, especially as food prices increase while federal food assistance benefits remain stagnant,” she said. “We urge policymakers and community stakeholders to engage in strategies to prevent local families and communities from experiencing the detrimental effects of hunger.”
Notably, there are metropolitan areas within Ohio where an even larger concentrated percentage of families experienced food hardship. Data aggregated by FRAC illustrates food hardship in the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).
Locally, Toledo’s Food Hardship Rate is 19.5, ranking 30th of 100. Other Ohio metropolitan cities’ ratings were Dayton, 22.4 percent (8th), Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, 20.9 percent (16th), Akron, 18.4 percent (45th), Columbus, 18 percent (50th), Cincinnati-Middletown, 17.3 percent (54th) and Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, 17 (58th).