Hunger in Our Community

What is food insecurity and what does it look like in central and northern New York?

The face of hunger has shifted from what once was the homeless man who used a soup kitchen to get by to working families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.

Food insecurity refers to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) measure of lack of access to enough nutritionally adequate foods for an active, healthy lifestyle for all household members. Food insecurity is not exclusively a trait of the poverty stricken. Hunger and poverty often go hand in hand but poverty is not the ultimate determinant of food insecurity. Food insecurity may reflect a working households need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods. [i]

Food insecure people in Food Bank of Central New York's eleven county service area: 181,080. [ii]

In 2010, Food Bank of Central New York partnered with Feeding America and Mathematica to understand who accessed emergency food agencies in our service area and why. A follow up study was conducted in the summer of 2013 which included 394 in-person interviews of households, selected at random, who utilized one of the Food Bank's food pantries or soup kitchens.

We’ve developed the following results to bring awareness regarding who is hungry and the challenges they face. This enables us to collectively identify solutions to better address the growing problem of food insecurity as a community.

Among the thousands of people who depend on charitable food programs in central and northern New York:

  • 30% are children 18 or younger
  • 32% have a working family member
  • 10% are without health insurance
  • 91% are below the federal poverty level
  • 68% have been unemployed for more than two years
  • 41% earn less than $12,000 annually

Read the full report by requesting a copy of Food Bank of Central New York's 2013 Hunger Assessment

Feeding America Hunger and Poverty Fact Sheet

Feeding America Child Hunger Fact Sheet

 [i] Feeding America: Poverty and Hunger in America, 2016.
[ii] Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap, Find a Food Bank; Food Bank of Central New York, 2017