The latest Hoosier Hunger report shows nearly one in six households reported last year they struggled to afford enough food for their households. The Food Research and Action Center says that is about 17 percent of Hoosiers. The Food Hardship Index also shows Indiana ranked 21 out of 50 states, for people unable to afford enough food. Last year, Indiana was ranked 18th with a food hardship rate of 20 percent.
“It is unacceptable that so many across Indiana cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “These statistics are more than just numbers. They are Hoosier households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet. We urge our elected leaders to do right by their constituents. It’s vital that they protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs, and support the state produce distribution program through Indiana’s food banks. With political will, we can end hunger in Indiana now.”
The United States Senate and House recently passed budgets that would subject the federal nutrition programs to staggering cuts. Such cuts would cause irreparable harm to the health and well-being of millions of people across the country who struggle to put food on the table. They also ignore the fact that no community or state is free from hunger, as multiple studies and research continue to demonstrate.
In Indiana, legislative leaders continue discussion and negotiations on a state budget that includes support for Hoosier produce purchase and distribution through Indiana’s network of food banks, but at a funding level that has not been raised in six years even as the number of struggling Hoosiers continues to grow.