A new study released shows that Ohio’s average rate of food insecurity is on the decline thanks to safety-net programs available to those who need it. Last month, the USDA Economic Research Service released its Household Food Security in the U.S. in 2016. in 2016 report. The report revealed that, while the prevalence of food insecurity in Ohio remains higher than the national average, we have made some modest progress toward increased food security for vulnerable people in our state. From 2011-13 to 2014-16, Ohio’s average rate of food insecurity declined from 16.0 percent to 14.8 percent. It’s a small change, and not a statistically significant one. There’s much more work to do, and to keep doing.
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks stated, “We are encouraged that Ohioans living at or near poverty levels are starting to realize small improvements in their ability to feed themselves and their families. We know this is direct evidence of our country’s nutrition safety net doing its job.” Programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) are helping low-income families and seniors afford groceries. Programs like TEFAP, which provides commodities to foodbanks, are helping our hunger relief network fill the gaps when SNAP benefits run out and for households not eligible for SNAP.
Keeping our community members from going hungry takes every sector, from nonprofit and faith-based to private to local, state and federal government, working together. To remain on this path, we must continue to invest in proven anti-hunger programs. We encourage Ohio’s congressional delegation to reject budget proposals that would weaken programs like SNAP for the children, seniors and people with disabilities that need it most.