Do you know the true face of hunger?
The face of hunger could live right next door to you - the child playing at the park, the senior citizen with half a cart at the grocery store and a handful of coupons. It could be your co-worker who struggles to make ends meet.
The face of hunger is all too real - and is becoming younger and includes the working poor, our seniors and the unemployed. To be honest, they look just like you and me.
One in three children at HCMC is at risk for hunger every day. Unfortunately, for many children, hunger isn't just an occasional missed meal, it is a way of life. Children who live with hunger develop physically and socially at a slower pace than their peers. Chronically hungry children experience higher levels of anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability and aggression. Chronic hunger results in students with lower attendance rates at school and lower academic performance. Even relatively short-term nutritional deficiencies can negatively impact a child's health, causing cognitive and developmental damage that prevents them from performing at their full potential.
A disturbing number of Minnesota seniors are going without food because they don’t have enough money to buy food and still pay for other basic needs and medication. The reality of senior hunger may be surprising. Unlike the problem of hunger among families with school-aged children, isolation contributes greatly to senior hunger. Data shows that about a third of the seniors live in the metro area, 90% of seniors on Minnesota Food Support are living alone and more than half of the seniors in this group are living with a disability.
Thousands of working parents are unable to reach economic self-sufficiency; that is, they cannot obtain an adequate standard of living for their families and struggle to keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads. Despite the strong value our culture places on work, work often does not provide a way out of poverty.
10.6% of Minnesotans have experienced food insecurity. 4.8 percent fall in the more severe category called "very low food Security," meaning they either went without food, or sacrificed healthy food for cheaper products just to have something to eat.
In the Twin Cities metro area, suburban and exurban counties (Dakota, Isanti and Carver) have seen the highest rise in food shelf use over the past six years.
Visits to Minnesota food shelves have increased 166% between 2000-2012 - over 3 million visits a year.