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Keeping Families Fed: North Dakota is Best in the U.S.

PHOTO: According to a new Gallup survey, North Dakota has the lowest rate of food insecurity in the nation, with 9.3 percent of respondents in the state reporting difficulty over the last year putting food on the table. Photo credit: Jake Stimpson/Flickr.
PHOTO: According to a new Gallup survey, North Dakota has the lowest rate of food insecurity in the nation, with 9.3 percent of respondents in the state reporting difficulty over the last year putting food on the table. Photo credit: Jake Stimpson/Flickr.
April 7, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - While a new survey finds North Dakota has the lowest rate in the nation of people struggling with hunger, there are still many North Dakotans who have a hard time putting food on the table.

A Gallup poll found just over nine percent of North Dakota respondents said there were times over the past year when they didn't have enough money to buy enough food. Karen Ehrens with Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota says many of those who are food insecure are families with children and jobs.

"Over half of the people, sometimes into 60 to 70 percent of people who might access a food pantry or access SNAP benefits, have at least one family member working in their household," says Ehrens.

Ehrens says several factors are helping with improvements in food security in North Dakota, including school lunches, the WIC program for women, infants and children, and individuals and companies that donate to food banks and pantries. Despite the improvements, Ehrens notes more needs to be done to provide long-term solutions.

"While making sure people have direct access to food, we're also looking to make sure people have access to adequate incomes, assets like owning a home, or have a college education," she says. "That can help people make it through the tough times."

Nationally, just over 17 percent of respondents reported food hardship, marking the lowest rate since Gallup began collecting food insecurity data in 2008.

More information on food insecurity in North Dakota and around the nation can be found at the Food Research and Action Center website at www.frac.org.

John Michaelson/Tommy Hough, Public News Service - ND