Food Insecurity vs Hunger
Food Insecurity – is the inability to access food in a consistent and socially acceptable manner to meet the family’s nutritional needs. Food insecurity is characterized by not having the financial means to buy or grow food, the need for emergency food assistance, and adults skipping meals. Food insecurity exists when the availability of nutritionally adequate food or the ability to access it on a consistent basis is uncertain or limited.
Hunger – is the condition where both adults and children cannot access food consistently and have to reduce food intake, eat poor diets and often go without any food. Hunger is the physiological effect of food insecurity and is also defined as the uneasy or painful sensation that it is caused by lack of food.
Many Gallatin Valley residents continue to seek assistance
High unemployment and the lingering effects of the recession have pushed record numbers of people in the Gallatin Valley and in Southwest Montana towards food insecurity. Thankfully, people can still count on the Food Bank. While the Gallatin Valley Food Bank is proud of our success helping families in need, we are saddened that so many people continue to need our help.
For more information please review our Annual Report 2015-16. Here are some of the highlights:
- Last year, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank distributed 1,803,875 pounds of food to people in need. This took an extraordinary effort by hundreds of volunteers and dedicated staff. This effort includes the extraordinary generosity of Gallatin Valley and Montanans across the state.
- An average of 1,166 households (roughly 3,105 individuals) eat meals from emergency food boxes provided by our Bozeman location and our satellite service in Belgrade, Montana.
- 14,950 emergency food box requests were honored at the Bozeman and Belgrade locations alone.
- 2,043 emergency food box requests were provided by our satellite locations in Three Forks and Big Sky, MT
- Food boxes provide roughly a 5 day supply of food. On average, recipient households turn to us less than 2 times a year.
- An average of 5,983.18 pounds (2.99 tons) of food are distributed to families every day.
Our nutrition outreach programs provide direct services for individuals, seniors, and families with children.
- 700 kids participate in our KidsPack Program and receive an assortment of healthy meals to take home for the weekend.
- 355 seniors receive extra food each month through our Senior Grocery Program.
- 19,374 free, nutritious meals were served to children during the summer of 2016 through our Summer Meal Program.
- 46,715 wholesome meals were served at our Community Café last year. Roughly 1 in 6 of those meals are served to area children.
Who is food insecure in Gallatin County–And Why?
Food insecurity is an income issue and poverty is one of the strongest predictors of food insecurity. 1 in 7 Gallatin County residents (13.8%) live below the federal poverty level. The USDA estimates that until a family’s income is 185% above the poverty line they are at risk of experiencing food insecurity. In May of 2014, we followed all 131 households that were new to the GVFB that month. Results from our New Client Study show that 74% of our clients live at the 100% benchmark–for a family of four this is only $25,200 a year.
Results from the New Client Study show that most of our clients only visit the Food Bank 1-2 times over the course of a year, contrary to one particularly persistent sentiment- that food bank clients chronically taking advantage of services available to them.
FACT: Under-nutrition (not eating enough) and malnutrition (not eating enough nutrients for proper development) lead to death for about 40,000 children a day world-wide.
FACT: Undernourished pregnant women often have low birth weight babies. These babies are more likely to suffer from physical illness and impaired growth and development. Undernourished babies are more likely to die during their first year of life
FACT: Children and pregnant women have high nutrient needs. They are often the first to have health consequences due to nutrient deficiencies
FACT: Chronic hunger in adults weakens bones and muscles; increases risk of illness, makes existing health problems worse and contributes to depression and lack of energy.
FACT: Children who are hungry may be less attentive and curious than other children. They often have difficulty concentrating. Their reading, verbal and motor skills can suffer. They are absent more often from school and have higher dropout rates.
FACT: Even short-term nutritional deficiencies can affect a child’s ability to concentrate and perform complex tasks.
FACT: In adults, hunger causes nervousness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.
FACT: Hunger can have an emotional impact as well. It may diminish self-confidence and self-esteem. In a culture that encourages self-reliance, people hesitate to seek help. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed that they need food assistance.