Report: Food Bank Clients Struggle With Decisions - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Report: Food Bank Clients Struggle With Decisions

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From the Food Bank of Northern Nevada:

69% percent of northern Nevadans seeking food assistance from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada struggle with the decision of whether to purchase food or pay for utilities, according to the Hunger America 2014 report. The study, released today, was conducted by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada in partnership with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief organization.

Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that more than 46 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. Food Bank of Northern Nevada has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1989.

The study documents client household demographics and the challenges that Food Bank of Northern Nevada's clients face. It is the first study that assesses the prevalence of food insecurity among past and active members of the U.S. Military and among adult students.

“This study is the only one of its kind, which shows us a much more detailed picture of the face of hunger in our area,” said Cherie Jamason, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. “Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Too often, our clients also have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families.”   

STUDY HIGHLIGHTS:
•    Health issues faced by clients
•    Employment statistics
•    Adult student status / U.S. Military status
•    Coping strategies employed by clients to make ends meet
•    Tough choice trade-offs made by clients

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

Key statistics from the report include:  

WIDESPREAD USE OF FOOD ASSISTANCE

Food Bank of Northern Nevada serves 204,200 people annually.  
•    8 percent of adult clients are students.
•    30 percent of households include someone who is currently or has ever served in the military.
•    89 percent of clients live in permanent housing.

CLIENTS STRUGGLING WITH HEALTH ISSUES
•    85 percent of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.
•    68 percent of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
•    53 percent households have a member with high blood pressure.
•    46 percent households have medical bills to pay.
•    32 percent of households include a member with diabetes.

MAKING TOUGH CHOICES TO KEEP FOOD ON THE TABLE

Following are the choices client households reported making in the past 12 months:
•    69 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.
*    32 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
•    68 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.
*    24 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
•    63 percent report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.
*    24 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
•    58 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for housing.
*    30 percent of these households are making the choice every month.

More than 43 percent of households reported using three or more coping strategies for getting enough food in the past 12 months.  The frequency of these strategies among all households include:
•    85 percent report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food;
•    56 percent report eating food past the expiration date;
•    44 percent report receiving help from friends or family;
•    44 percent report pawning or selling personal property;
•    36 percent report watering down food or drinks;
•    17 percent report growing food in a garden;

LOW WAGES, UNDEREMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT DRIVING NEED
•    14 percent of respondents have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.
•    Among all households served by Food Bank of Northern Nevada agencies and programs, 55 percent have at least one member who has been employed in the past year.
•    Among all households with an employed person, the person with the longest employment duration is likely to be employed part-time (49 percent working 30 or less hours per week).  
•    Among households served by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada 70 percent are living at or below the federal poverty level. (The Federal Poverty Level depends on household size.  A family of three is at the poverty level with a household income at or below $19,530.)  

Hunger in America 2014 was conducted using rigorous academic research standards and was peer reviewed by a technical advisory team including researchers from American University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Urban Institute. Nationally, confidential responses were collected on electronic tablets by 6,000 trained data collectors, majority of whom were volunteers.

The study was funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

The full national report is available on Feeding America's website at Hunger in America 2014 http://help.feedingamerica.org/site/PageServer/?pagename=HIA_hunger_in_america&utm_source=internal&utm_medium=redirect&utm_campaign=hungerinamerica

From the Food Bank of Northern Nevada

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