1 in 5 children struggle with food insecurity

In the United States, more than 16 million children experience some degree of food insecurity. This means that one in five children may lack access to enough nutritious food. In the state of Alabama, there are more than one million children and nearly one-third of Alabama’s youth experience food hardships. In accordance with this, nearly 60% of public school children participate in the federally-funded free/reduced School Lunch Program. Hunger and malnutrition can have considerable negative effects on a child’s health, education and future job readiness.

A food-insecure household is one where the members are unable to consistently access the adequate amount of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.

64% of teachers have had children in their class who struggle with food insecurity

Childhood hunger is not simply an issue of an empty stomach today.  According to the report Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on our Nation commissioned by Feeding America and the ConAgra Foods Foundation, childhood hunger can have a dramatic impact on a child’s long-term success.  Some of the key findings indicated that:

  • Under-nutrition during formative years can actually change the fundamental neurological architecture of the brain and central nervous system;
  • Hungry children do not perform as well in school and have lower academic achievement because, among other issues, they are less able to concentrate;
  • Hungry children develop more social and behavioral problems because they have less energy and are less able to adapt to stresses;
  • Finally, as adults, workers who experienced hunger as children are not as well prepared to perform effectively in the contemporary workforce.

It’s fair to say that because childhood hunger actually holds kids back into adulthood it perpetuates poverty, affecting families for generations.  An engaged safety net system, with the involvement of folks like you, is the best opportunity to end the cycle.

 Disclaimer: Facts provided by the Montgomery Area Food Bank and the Outreach Initiative of the Hunger Solutions Institute Auburn University (2013)