Idaho Hunger Awareness Month
October is Hunger Awareness Month in Idaho, which shines a light on the challenges for individuals and families facing hunger. This is also an opportunity to highlight and strengthen the partnerships and coalitions that work together to address hunger in Idaho.
Nearly 9 percent of Idahoans – over 152,000 people – are facing food insecurity according to the most recent Map the Meal Gap report from Feeding America, using 2020 data. This includes 10.5 percent of Idaho children.
Rural counties in Idaho, and across the United States, continue to have some of the highest rates of food insecurity. Rural counties make up 63 percent of all U.S counties but represent 87 percent of counties with food insecurity rates in the top 10 percent. In other words, counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are disproportionately rural. Our mobile pantries are one of the tools we use to serve our rural communities. For the first time, this year’s Map the Meal Gap report includes additional information about food insecurity by race/ethnicity. This report found that 17 percent of the Hispanic population in Idaho is experiencing food insecurity. We are continuing to refine our services to rural, marginalized, and high need communities in Idaho.
Although hunger is more prevalent in some communities, hunger exists in every county of Idaho and the United States. Recognizing the short and long term impact hunger is having on individuals and communities, The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health was held at the end of September. It has been 50 years since the last White House Conference on Hunger, so we were excited to see this spotlight on food insecurity. The conference had five pillars to focus the conference discussion that day and moving forward – improve food access and affordability; integrate nutrition and health; empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices; support physical activity for all; and enhance nutrition and food security research. In the lead up to the conference, we were able to hold two listening sessions with Idahoans who have experienced hunger and share that feedback with Feeding America and the White House.
As we work to build a healthier and food secure future for our neighbors, our collaboration with others is key to that success. Through our statewide network of community partners and our coalitions with organizations around the state, The Idaho Foodbank will continue our work to solve hunger while simultaneously contributing to the health and well-being of those we serve.
Idaho Hunger Awareness Month is a time for all Idahoans to reflect on the challenges facing their neighbors and think about how we can make a positive difference and build a food secure future for all Idahoans.