In the summer of 2014, Vermont Foodbank staff, volunteers and network partners undertook a statewide study in partnership with Feeding America, called Hunger in America.
The 2014 Hunger in America study reveals the face of hunger in Vermont. The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Vermont Foodbank. You can download the Hunger in America Executive Summary or the full report here.
Hunger in America Key Findings:
An estimated 64 percent of the food bank’s partner agencies reported employing paid staff. The median number of paid full-time-equivalent staff (assuming a 40-hour work week) was 5.
A median of 7 volunteers a week provided a median of 31 volunteer hours to programs each week.
Unduplicated Number of Clients Served
The unduplicated client count measures the number of unique individuals or households who access food from the charitable food assistance network. Within this food bank’s service area, 18,700 unique clients are served in a typical week and 153,100 are served annually. An estimated 8,200 unique households are served in a typical week and 61,800 are served annually.
Duplicated Number of Clients Served
The duplicated client count estimates the number of times individuals or households are reached through food distributions during a given time. Within this food bank’s service area, clients are reached 24,400 times in a typical week and 1,269,800 times annually. Households are reached 11,500 times in a typical week and 599,000 times annually.
Nationally, the most common racial and ethnic groups are white, black or African-American, and Hispanic or Latino. Within this food bank’s service area, 88 percent of clients identify themselves as white, 1 percent as black or African-American, and 2 percent as Hispanic or Latino. Among all clients, 24 percent are children under age 18, and 17 percent are seniors age 60 and older.
Food Insecurity (2)
An estimated 76 percent of households are food insecure, and 24 percent are food secure (3).
Income and Poverty
An estimated 2 percent of client households have no income, 40 percent have annual incomes of $1 to $10,000, and 33 percent have annual incomes of $10,001 to $20,000. Taking into consideration household size, 57 percent of client households have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level (4).
An estimated 23 percent of households report at least one member with diabetes; 46 percent of households report at least one member with high blood pressure. Additionally, 10 percent of client households have no members with health insurance of any kind, and 56 percent of households chose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months.
An estimated 77 percent of all clients have attained a high school degree or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or more, and an estimated 24 percent of all clients have post-high school education (including license or certification, some college, or a four-year degree).
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(2) Food security means all people at all times can access enough food for an active, healthy life. The US Department of Agriculture (http://www.usda.gov) defines four levels of food security. High food security indicates no reported food-access problems. Marginal food security indicates reported problems that are typically anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house, but with little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake. Low food security indicates reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet and little or no reduced food intake. Very low food security indicates reports of multiple disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake. The food security measure used in HIA 2014 combines high and marginal food security into one category (food secure) and low and very low food security into another category (food insecure).
(3) Though most client households are food insecure, there are a variety of reasons why some may identify as food secure. When answering the questions on the food security module, clients may take into account the food they receive through the charitable food system or federal programs like SNAP, indicating that their food secure status is contingent on the help they receive. Additionally, households may make tradeoffs to ensure that they have enough food on the table (discussed later in this report). HIA 2014 also included non-emergency programs in its scope for the first time, thus capturing clients who are in need but may not classify as food insecure. A food secure status does not indicate a lack of need for charitable feeding support.
(4) Poverty guidelines vary by household size. In 2013, a single person falls under 100 percent of the poverty level with annual cash income of $11,400 or less, two people live in poverty with income of $15,510 and below, and families with three people live in poverty if income is $19,530 or below. For all guidelines, see US Health and Human Services Department “Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines,” Federal Register, January 24, 2013.