Hunger in our Region
Hunger exists in every county in our nation. In Kansas and Missouri, there are hungry people living in sparsely-populated rural counties, suburban communities and urban centers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, food insecurity was at the lowest point seen since before the Great Recession of 2008. The pandemic increased food insecurity significantly in 2020, and the numbers still remain at high levels.
What Does it Mean to be Hungry?
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. There may be enough for today, but there is uncertainty if there is enough food for tomorrow. This can be a temporary situation for a household, or it can last a long time.
What Causes Food Insecurity?
Many people in America struggle to meet their basic needs. Lay-offs at work, unexpected car maintenance, health issues or an accident on the job can suddenly force a family or senior to choose between buying food and paying bills.
What are the Effects of Food Insecurity?
- Serious health complications, especially when people facing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food and medicine or medical care
- Damage to a child’s ability to learn and grow
- Loss of independence for seniors who rely on food access to stay in their homes
- Reduced ability for adults to focus at work and keep their jobs
In Harvesters’ 26-county service area:
1 in 8 people
are at risk of hunger.
That’s 12.4% of the population or 323,660 individuals.
1 in 6 kids
are at risk of hunger.
That’s 16% of the child population or 99,360 children.
To see how hunger impacts your county in 2021, and how that has changed since 2019, see Feeding America’s interactive food-insecurity map.
Who Does Harvesters’ Network Serve?
Prior to the pandemic, Harvesters’ network of 760 partner agencies was feeding 141,500 people every month. The demand for food assistance increased 30 to 40 percent during the pandemic, and while that number is improving, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- 25% are children
- 20% are seniors
- 49% have at least one adult in the household who has worked in the last year
- 5% are people experiencing homelessness
- 29% have at least one member in the household in poor health
- 59% are White, 24% are Black, 9% are Hispanic and the rest are from other racial and ethnic groups
Learn more about who Harvesters is serving by downloading the key local findings for our service area from Feeding America’s Hunger in America Report 2014.