As summer edges into fall, tables and plates across the country will soon be filled with food from a bountiful harvest. But for many families, having a full plate isn’t always a guarantee.
The USDA estimates that in total, 40 million Americans are food insecure, or live in households without consistent access to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy lifestyle.(1) While estimated rates of food insecurity range from 3% to 36% across the country, every county and congressional district in the U.S. is home to people who face hunger.(2)
Federal nutrition programs like SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) help combat food insecurity, but still don’t reach everyone in need. In fact, 3 in 10 people who are food insecure are unlikely to qualify for most federal nutrition programs.(2)
That’s where the Feeding America network of 200 food banks and more than 60,000 food pantries steps in. By helping to fill the gap of missed meals, Northern Illinois Food Bank and other Feeding America food banks throughout the U.S. are solving hunger in their communities each and every day. (Learn more about how food banks work).
While each food bank covers its own distinct service area, the network regularly collaborates to support and learn from one another. For example, the power of the network is clearly seen when disaster strikes. From the aftermath of California wildfires to rebuilding after hurricanes in Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas, Feeding America food banks work together to make sure food gets into the hands of our neighbors who need it most across the country.
Outside of disaster, relief, food banks work together by sharing product year-round. When one food bank has an abundance of one item, for example, they may coordinate with other nearby food banks to exchange or divert that product. Not only does this make sure food doesn’t go to waste, but it also helps get more quantity and variety of food to a greater number of neighbors in widespread locations.
Thanks to your support, food banks in the Feeding America network are making a difference each and every day for neighbors in need throughout the United States.
(1)“Food Security in the U.S. – Measurement.” Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 2019.
(2)“Map the Meal Gap 2019.” Feeding America, 2019.