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Report: Some Hoosiers Face Tough Choices to Keep from Going Hungry

PHOTO: A new report finds 1.1 million Hoosiers need assistance from soup kitchens and food pantries each year, and many are forced to make difficult choices to keep from going hungry. Photo credit: Max Straeten/morguefile.
PHOTO: A new report finds 1.1 million Hoosiers need assistance from soup kitchens and food pantries each year, and many are forced to make difficult choices to keep from going hungry. Photo credit: Max Straeten/morguefile.
November 17, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – A new report shines light on the face of hunger in Indiana, and finds many people are making difficult choices in order to put food on the table.

One-in six Hoosiers turned to one of Feeding Indiana's Hungry 11 food banks over the past year, according to executive director Emily Weikert Bryant.

She says the Hunger in America 2014 study also finds people are making tough choices to keep from going hungry.

"When coming to decisions between food and medicine or medical care, 45 percent of our client households are choosing every month, whether to pay for their medication or buy the foods that they need,” she relates. “That's a significant challenge to a number of clients that we serve."

Weikert Bryant says many clients use coping strategies for getting enough food, including eating it past the expiration date and purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy items.

Of the 1.1 million Hoosiers who need food assistance, 33 percent are children, 13 percent are seniors and 22 percent of households include a veteran.

The last report contained data from 2009, and Weikert Bryant says the biggest difference since then is the number of people who have a job, but may be paid a low wage or not working many hours.

"What is interesting is that we are seeing that a number of clients are working – and a number of our clients have been working – and I think that's indicative of the economy that we've seen since the data was recorded for the study in 2009,” she says.

Weikert Bryant says the information comes directly from clients surveyed at member food banks. And she says it will be shared widely with policymakers so they know the needs of struggling families.

"We intend to provide the study to legislators when they come back so they have information available to them,” she says. “But we've also shared it with folks on the national level as they're making decisions about the child-nutrition reauthorization that comes up next year, or any programs that are touching on issues that our clients see."





Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN