CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — The non-profit hunger relief group Feeding America reports 1 in 9 people is struggling with hunger in the Hawkeye state.
In all, their data shows there are more than 340,000 individuals in need of food in Iowa, enough hungry people to fill each seat in Kinnick Stadium stadium five times over.
Those who don’t have easy access to sufficient amounts of food are called “food insecure”. Around 30 percent of the state’s food insecure live in the TV9 viewing area.
Most of those living with food insecurity are in Linn County, where there are more than 23,000. Johnson County has the second-highest at 19,000, followed by Black Hawk County with just over 18,000. Black Hawk county also has the viewing area’s highest rate of food insecurity, at nearly 14 percent.
Many who are hungry live in households where family members are working. According to a 2007 USDA report, nationwide, “Nearly half of low-income households with very low food security had one or more members employed.” Despite this, the report also notes, “Just over half received assistance from one or more of the three largest Federal nutrition assistance programs”.
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports minority communities are the most likely to be food insecure. Data from 2016 shows black households “were nearly 2 times more likely to be food insecure than the national average.” Hispanic households also had a rate of food insecurity above the national average too.
“Anyone can be food insecure,” said Ann Hearn with the HACAP Food Reservoir Advisory Council. “Whatever the ethnic group, you can always be food insecure and age too is another thing that can cause some food insecurity.”
One in seven Iowa children struggles with hunger.
Feeding America reports it will take around $160 million to meet the food needs of those who are food insecure in the state this year alone.