About Hunger

Food insecurity is a real condition that can result from hunger. It can be defined in a variety of ways:

  • You don’t know where your next meal is coming from
  • You don’t know if you have enough food to provide three meals a day for your family
  • You don’t have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food
  • You skip your dinner meal so that your children will have enough to eat

The number of people in the United States and Massachusetts struggling with food insecurity is astounding:

  • 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger. This means that 41 million people in the United States do not have consistent access to enough nutritious food to lead a healthy life (Feeding America)
  • 13 million children (1 in 6) in the United States face hunger (Feeding America)
  • More than 5 million senior citizens currently struggle with hunger (Feeding America)
  • 142,000 people in eastern Massachusetts receive food distributed by the Greater Boston Food Bank each month
  • 10.3% of Massachusetts households (about 726,000 adults and children) are food insecure (Project Bread)

The impact of food insecurity includes:

  • High levels of stress, anxiety and depression caused by worry over how to afford enough food
  • Poor school performance and social interaction with peers by children who are hungry
  • An even more challenging experience for the senior population that is limited by a fixed income and faced with increased health expenses, physical limitations and complex nutritional needs
  • An increase in the consumption of high calorie foods with little nutritional value since they are more affordable. This can result in long-term health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity

According to Feeding America’s survey of clients in its Hunger in American Study 2014, many survive on limited budgets and need to decide between competing basic needs:

  • 69 percent had to choose between paying for food and utilities
  • 67 percent had to choose between food and transportation
  • 66 percent had to choose between food and medical care
  • 57 percent had to choose between food and housing
  • 31 percent had to choose between food and education

Click here to learn about hunger in Franklin.

The sources below were used to compile this brief summary about hunger. Please visit these websites for more information:

Feeding America

The Greater Boston Food Bank

Project Bread

Hunger in America 2014 Study

2016 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts