Study Shows Children In Vermont More Likely To Face Hunger Than Overall Population

Child food insecurity rates in the Vermont are higher than overall food insecurity rates

Photo of child with text overlay Help Give Hungry Kids A Voice

Barre, VT – May 9, 2019 – The Vermont Foodbank announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2019, the latest report by Feeding America® on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. It is the only study that provides food insecurity data at the local level.

Map the Meal Gap 2019 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in Vermont. It also shows that children are more likely to be food insecure, with the child food insecurity rate at 15.9% compared to 11.9% for the overall population of Vermont.

“There isn’t a single state or county in America free from child hunger, and it is within our collective power to change that and ensure that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive officer of Feeding America. “The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is investing in our nation’s future by helping to provide over 146 million meals to children every year. Still, Map the Meal Gap highlights that more must be done. Together food banks, corporations, policymakers, donors, volunteers and advocates can solve hunger.”

“I encourage everyone to visit the website, map.feedingamerica.org to find out what hunger looks like in their community and get involved to be part of the solution,” Babineaux-Fontenot continued. “One way is to tell Congress to invest in kids during Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation and increase access to food for kids during the summer. Your voice matters and we can make a difference.”

Overall food insecurity in Vermont ranges from a low of 9.6% of the population in Grand Isle County up to 13.1% in Essex County.

The analysis also finds that 40% of residents of Vermont who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements. This means that many households must rely even more on charitable food assistance from the Vermont Foodbank and its network.

“Without the support of the Vermont Foodbank and our network of 215 food shelves and meal sites throughout the state, the nearly 30,000 individuals who are food insecure but do not qualify for federal nutrition programs would have nowhere to turn for help,” says Vermont foodbank CEO John Sayles. “It is critical for us to work together to meet that need and to advocate for policy changes to better support our neighbors facing hunger.”

The Vermont Foodbank is a member of Feeding America’s hunger-relief network comprised of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that together provides food assistance to more than 40 million people in the U.S. struggling with hunger. The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food and promoting health through a network of 215 food shelves, meal sites, senior centers and after-school programs, and directly to families, children, older adults and individuals at schools and hospitals. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank distributed more than 12 million pounds of food to people in the state struggling with hunger.

Map the Meal Gap 2019 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Key local findings:

  • 74,520 people in Vermont (11.9%) are food insecure.
  • Of those people, 40% likely do not qualify for federal nutrition programs.
  • In Vermont, 18,760 children (15.9%) are food insecure.

The study’s findings underscore the extent of need that remains in communities in Vermont and across the U.S., despite national measures from the USDA that indicate overall improvement.

Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group is the lead researcher of Map the Meal Gap 2019.

This is the ninth consecutive year that Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study.

The Map the Meal Gap 2019 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners, food banks and advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.

Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2019 on Twitter using #MealGap.

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Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, schools, hospitals, and housing sites. Food insecurity has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic, economic disruptions, and recent flooding. The Vermont Foodbank and its network have been on the front lines, working to ensure that everyone has the food they need to maintain their health. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank provided over 12 million pounds of food to people throughout Vermont. The Vermont Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, is nationally recognized as one of the most effective and efficient nonprofits and food banks in the nation.