Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, recently released their annual “Map the Meal Gap” study. The most recent release is based on data from 2018. The findings of this study identified over 45,000 individuals, seniors and children who suffered from food insecurity in 2018 throughout the Second Harvest Community Food Bank 19-county service area.

“We use this data to best align our services to meet the need in every county we serve. We work to insure adequate and equitable food distribution throughout our service territory and Map the Meal Gap data drives our strategy,” Chad Higdon, Chief Executive Officer for Second Harvest Community Food Bank said. “In response to COVID-19 we are utilizing a companion study released by Feeding America that projects the impact of the pandemic on local food insecurity in 2020.”

Hunger is defined as a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat. The current crisis, according to Feeding America projections, indicates that more than 54 million people including 18 million children may experience food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Second Harvest is combatting hunger within Atchison County, Missouri, through direct services and programs. Last fiscal year, Second Harvest distributed 127,733 pounds food (106,444 meals) to those in need within Atchison County. Even with last year’s distribution numbers, Second Harvest continues to evaluate data monthly and make adjustments to serve those in need within Atchison County.

“We have to continue to evaluate data and adjust to what we are seeing within each county,” said Blake Haynes, Communications Coordinator for Second Harvest Community Food Bank. “In doing so, we are striding towards our vision of a hunger-free Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas.”

According to Map the Meal Gap food insecurity information for Atchison County, an overall food insecurity rate for Atchison County is 12.1%. The projected 2020 rate is 17.3%. The childhood food insecurity rate for Atchison County is 13.7%, and the projected rate for 2020 is 22.8%.

For more information about this study, call 816-364-3663 or email info@shcfb.org.