Hunger in America and in Napa County
Is there really a need for emergency food?
Unfortunately, yes. People who don’t know where their next meal is coming from are experiencing “food insecurity.” Tens of millions of Americans face this situation every day. This isn’t an exaggeration. According to recent reports, 18.5% of American households are considered “food insecure” and at least 40 million U.S. residents—more than one in eight of our neighbors—receives food aid. The demand for food assistance keeps growing.
According to Feeding America, a national organization of food banks, the number of Americans needing help with food has jumped 46% in the last three years. This includes 50% more children who need food assistance and 64% more senior citizens.
Another study determined that 25% of all households with children are likely to experience hunger or food insecurity. That number goes up to over 30% in households with single parents. Think of it this way: If you’re standing in a line in your community, one of the eight people around you probably hasn’t had enough to eat. And if your child is in a class of 28 people, seven of their classmates may not be sure where their next meal is coming from. It’s shocking.
Why are so many of our neighbors hungry? It’s not because there’s a shortage of food. Studies show that America produces twice as much food as we need in order to feed everyone in our country. So what’s the problem?
Many of our neighbors simply can’t afford to buy enough food—even when they’re working. Feeding America reports that at least 1/3 of all American families who get help with food have one or more people working. The result is heartbreaking. Again, according to Feeding America, “A growing number of people have to make difficult choices about what to spend their dwindling dollars on.”
- More than 46% of Food Bank clients report having to choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food.
- 39% said they had to choose between paying for rent or a mortgage and food.
- 34% report having to choose between paying for medical bills and food.
- 35% must choose between transportation and food.
A silver lining
Hidden in these alarming statistics is one bit of very good news. If 60 million Americans are “food insecure,” then about 250 million Americans are not. This means that there are plenty of people who can afford to offer a little help. Not everyone, of course… but more than enough to make a huge difference. You may be one of them.
How to Access Food in Napa County
CANV’s Food Bank
Other Local Food Resources
County Food Assistance resources: