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Hoosiers Urged to Take Action to Stop Hunger

More than a third of Hoosiers are considered food insecure. (Virginia Carter)
More than a third of Hoosiers are considered food insecure. (Virginia Carter)
September 16, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – The Hunger Action 2016 campaign is under way in Indiana and across the nation. In Indiana, more than one million people struggle with hunger and may not know where they'll find their next meal. That number includes one in five kids who may not have enough to eat.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry, said September is a great month for the annual campaign because the holidays are just around the corner, and that's when a lot of people tend to donate, but there are people in need now.

"Our food banks are serving people year round, as are the pantries that they provide food to, and there's really no season for hunger," she said. "There's obviously an ebb and flow, a lot of which depends on the economy, but we certainly see a year-round need for people who are needing help."

Indiana is the 18th highest-ranking state when it comes to hunger. Nearly 15 percent of Indiana households are food insecure. Just over 6 percent of those are very food insecure, meaning they are skipping meals on a regular basis because they can't afford to buy food.

The idea of the campaign is to get everyone to help and Weikert Bryant said there are several ways to do that. People can volunteer at shelters or food pantries, they can donate food, or they can participate in programs such as those at local grocery stores where they may be asked to round up to the nearest dollar, with the extra change going to the food banks.

"They can actually leverage a dollar into multiple meals, if purchasing food, they're accessing it at a wholesale rate or better, and so it enables them to, really turn that dollar into a significant impact," she added.

There's good and bad news when it comes to hunger in America. On the plus side, the numbers dropped from 2014 to 2015. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service said the rate declined from 15.4 to 13.4 percent. The bad news is still more than 42.2 million Americans lived in households that were struggling against hunger last year.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN