***For Immediate Release***
April 7, 2015
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
Survey Finds 12 Percent of Nebraska Households Struggle to Afford Food
New Data Underscores Need to Protect and Improve Federal Nutrition Programs
LINCOLN – One in 8 people – 12.8 percent of respondents – in Nebraska reported in 2014 they struggled to afford enough food to feed their households, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
The report, “How Hungry is America?” provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for the nation, every state, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Omaha/Council Bluffs. The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 17.2 percent in 2014.
Although Nebraska had the seventh-lowest rate of food insecurity in the U.S., it still means nearly 1 in 8 Nebraskans face food hardship. The Omaha/Council Bluffs community ranks in the top 100 for food hardship in large metropolitan areas (15 percent, rank of 86).
“This data show Nebraska continues to fight an ongoing battle against hunger that affects too many families,” Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Program Director James Goddard said. “It does great harm to our state’s families and workforce when so many children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities are struggling to make ends meet.”
This research shows hunger still is a problem in Nebraska at a time when Congress is considering further cuts to food assistance programs. The Senate and House both recently passed budgets that would subject the federal nutrition programs to staggering cuts that would cause irreparable harm to the health and well-being of thousands of Nebraskans who struggle to put food on the table.
“We urge Congress to protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school meals programs,” Goddard said. “We also hope eligible Nebraska school districts fight hunger by taking up the Community Eligibility Provision so all schoolchildren can get the food they need to learn and be healthy.”
“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of America. People are still struggling,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president, noting that too many Americans bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, and inadequate safety nets to lift or keep them out of poverty. “Congress and the President must reject cuts to nutrition programs and other programs that benefit low-income people, and build a strong safety net.”
Nebraska Appleseed is urging concerned community members to raise their voices and to tell their Members of Congress to strengthen – not weaken – the nation’s nutrition safety net. They can do so, for example, by adding their name to this online petition in support of SNAP.
“How Hungry is America?” contains data throughout 2014 for every state and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008.
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