More than a million Hoosiers don’t know where their next meal will come from or when it will come, according to a report from Feeding America.
Nearly 16 percent of Indiana residents are food insecure – that includes nearly 346,000 children.
More than half likely qualify for federal assistance, such as food stamps. But 31 percent of those considered food insecure earn income above federal assistance eligibility levels – meaning their only access to help comes from charitable organizations.
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry Executive Director Emily Weikart Bryant says it’s not always clear what those people do to get food.
“They could be making a number of tradeoffs," Bryant said. "We know that, from our client studies in the past, clients are choosing between buying food and paying for medical bills, rent, utilities, transportation.”
Bryant says the average Hoosier can help by volunteering at a local food bank and donating food or money to local pantries.
“If you’ve got a garden in your yard, plant an extra row and you can share it with the charitable sector, you can share it with the pantry in your neighborhood, or you can take it to the senior across the street that might not be able to get out or the family down the way that has a number of mouths to feed,” Bryant added.
Marion County has the highest percentage of food insecure people at more than 19 percent, while Hamilton County in central Indiana has the lowest at a little less than 10 percent.