The Hunger in America 2014 study shows that 1 in 4 people, or an estimated 153,000 people, in Vermont turn to food shelves and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. This includes 33,900 children and 26,010 seniors.
Here we’ve included an excerpt of the study that focuses on the household food security status of Vermont Foodbank clients as well as the choices they have to make each month between food and other necessities.
“The use of food programs and the difficulty getting food to feed one’s household are likely deeply intertwined. Households that experience enough limitations in access to adequate food to cause changes in diet or reduced food intake are deemed food insecure (24). In this section, we examine the level of food insecurity of Vermont Foodbank client households and the trade-offs they make to secure enough food.
“In the Client Survey, we employed one of the food security modules used by the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. We use the module to categorize households according to two possible levels of food security:
“food secure, indicating households have, at all times, access to sufficient foods for a healthy life; and
“food insecure, indicating that at some point households lacked access to sufficient food for an active and healthy life.
- 76 percent of client households are food insecure in a given month; 24 percent of client households are food secure
“Though most client households are food insecure, there are a variety of reasons why some of the client households of the Vermont Foodbank may identify as food secure. Respondents may take into account the food they receive through the charitable food system or federal programs like SNAP when they are answering the questions on the food security module. This could indicate that their food secure status is contingent on the help they receive. Furthermore, Hunger in America 2014 included non-emergency programs in its scope, 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.
“Some client households made trade-offs between paying for food and paying for other necessities within the past 12 months (see figure 14).
- 63% of households report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities at least once in the past 12 months
- 21% face this choice every month.
- 58% of households report choosing between paying for food and paying for transportation or gas for a car at least once in the past 12 months
- 22% face this choice every month.
- 56% of households report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months
- 23% face this choice every month.
- 52% of households report choosing between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage at least once in the past 12 months
- 17% face this choice every month.
- 20% of households report choosing between paying for food and paying for school loans, tuition, or other educational expenses at least once in the past 12 months
- 9% face this choice every month.”
The work of feeding 153,000 Vermonters in need starts with a single gift. Please consider supporting the Vermont Foodbank today.
(24) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, “Definitions of food security”. http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security.aspx.