Food insecurity is a growing problem in eastern Massachusetts as local food banks have seen an increase in clients, according to the Hunger in America 2014 survey released Monday.
Nearly 64 percent of The Greater Boston Food Bank's pantries reported a year-over-year increase of people who access food banks in eastern Mass., while just 4 percent of pantries saw a decrease. Furthermore, the report found that approximately 1 in 12 individuals living in eastern Mass. access food from The Greater Boston Food Bank and its member agencies annually.
“It is estimated that in eastern Massachusetts, as many as 1 in 3 clients served is a child under the age of 18 and as many as 1 in 5 clients served is 60 years old or older,” the report’s executive summary states. “This means that approximately half of the individuals receiving food assistance belong to a vulnerable age group where proper nutrition is vital.”
More Key Findings
- 91% of GBFB's member agencies said a decrease in food received from GBFB would have a major affect on their ability to serve clients.
- As many as 420,000 people sought food assistance from GBFB in 2012-2013.
- About a third of the households receiving food assistance have at least one child younger than 18 years of age.
- Half of those served belong to the most vulnerable age groups of children and seniors, where proper nutrition is vital.
- 72% of households need to use a food pantry on a regular basis to have enough to eat
- 61% had to choose between food and utilities (heat and electricity).
- 60% had to choose between food and rent/mortgage payments.
- 60% had to choose between food and medical care.
- 31% had to choose between food and education.
Last year, Project Bread released a local report showing that more than 700,000 people in Massachusetts struggle with food insecurity – a number almost 40 percent higher than it was prior to the recession, and almost 80 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the last decade.