Did you know that 16.2% of Maine’s 1.3 million citizens are experiencing food insecurity? 16.2% may not sound like a lot, but that percent represents 208,000 people. This amounts to approximately 1/6 of the state’s population that is not getting enough to eat.
What is food insecurity anyway?
Food insecurity is experienced by a person who does not have access to enough food that would provide adequate nutrition. These are people from all over the state, even counties that you would not think would be experiencing this. For more about food insecurity in your county check out this map by Feeding America.
So who are these hungry people?
According to AARP, 23% of those who experience food insecurity in Maine are seniors. Our state has a large population of older citizens, and many of them are having a hard time getting enough to eat. As our population continues to age, it is very important that we are making sure our senior citizens are taken care of.
Another population that is greatly affected by food insecurity are children. Feeding America says that 1 in 4 Maine children do not get enough to eat. Many of these children may qualify for the reduced or free meal program through their school, but what happens when school ends for the summer? For many families this is an exciting time to get a break from school and spend some time together, but many face the issue of having not enough to eat. This issue is being recognized by the USDA and they have created a simple way for families to find the closest summer food program for their children. You can find the location of summer meals for children in your community by using the Summer Meal Site Finder on their website.
At the moment food insecurity is on the rise in Maine. Food pantries and soup kitchens report an increase in visitors each year. If you or someone you know is having a hard time with having enough to eat, you can find Food Pantry Locations near you through the Good Shepherd Food Bank website.