Hunger is a reality for 1 in 6 Tennesseans.
According to a recent Feeding America study, Map the Meal Gap*, an estimated 49 million Americans are food insecure, including more than 1 million Tennesseans. Tennessee falls above the 15 percent national average with a 17.1 percent food-insecurity rate - a statistic that ties Tennessee with Missouri as the 41st most-food-insecure state.
A household is considered food insecure if there is limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life. 1 in 6 Tennesseans struggles with hunger and 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry.
The consequences of food insecurity put our most vulnerable populations - children and seniors - at the most risk. For children, inadequate nutrition is associated with adverse effects in school that have long-term consequences. Seniors living in food-insecure households are often missing necessary nutrients that are critical to the unique conditions of aging.
As hunger still exists and households struggle to make ends meet, organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and Mid-South Food Bank are working to feed hungry people and solve hunger issues in our community.
Second Harvest serves more than 83,000 unique households each year - which includes more than 64,000 children and 47,000 seniors - by distributing meals and groceries through more than 450 community partner agencies in 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee. To learn more about Second Harvest’s mission and work visit secondharvestmidtn.org.
Headquartered in Memphis, Mid-South Food Bank serves 31 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi, and East Arkansas, where more than 21 percent of the population - one-third of which are children and 10 percent are seniors - struggles with food insecurity and hunger. Annually, the organization distributes 13 million pounds of food and groceries to more than 200 partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth and senior programs, rehabilitation, and residential centers. For more information on the work of Mid-South Food Bank visit midsouthfoodbank.org.
Both of these organizations rely on donations and fundraisers such as the Sporting Clays Fun Shoot events to help fulfill their mission of serving hungry families through partner agencies in Middle and West Tennessee. 96 cents of every dollar donated is used to feed the hungry.
"The face of hunger is one we might recognize," says Jaynee Day, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. "Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems like all of us. Too often, our clients have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families."
Help feed hope for those in need. Join us in the fight against hunger in our communities.
*Map the Meal Gap 2015 data was drawn from the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics data and American Community Survey averages from the rolling 2009-2013 period.
“Hunger Is a Reality for 1 in 6 Tennesseans.” Tennessean, 2 Sept. 2015.