A new study from Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, for their “Map The Meal Gap” study shows more than 50-thousand food insecure people in the northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas area served by America’s Second Harvest Community Food Bank in St. Joseph.
The new study, which defines hunger as “a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat”, shows 54,657 individuals in the 19-county service area of Second Harvest.
The number of food insecure in the area has fluctuated with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second Harvest says the current numbers are lower now than they were at the peak of the pandemic (64k+ in August), but are still higher than the pre-pandemic rate (45k+).
In a release Chief Executive Officer for Second Harvest Community Food Bank Chad Higdon says “This important study shines a light on the challenges of hunger and the impact we are making within our communities. We use this data to best align our services to
meet the need in every county we serve. We work to insure adequate and equitable service throughout our service territory and Map the Meal Gap data drives our distribution strategy.”
As part of their plan to help combat the need in the area, Second Harvest says they will increase the number of Fresh Mobile Pantry distributions from 26 to 40 by the end of March.