92,500 Valley Residents Suffer ‘Food Insecurity’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley reports 92,500 Mahoning Valley residents are “food insecure,” meaning they suffer from a “lack of access at times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”

Of that total — which includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties — 31,870 are children, the food bank says.

The numbers come from “Map the Meal Gap 2015,” a study based on an analysis of statistics collected by federal agencies for the year 2013.

In Mahoning County, the food insecurity rate is 17.2%, in Trumbull 16.7T and in Columbiana 15.9%. The Ohio county with the highest rate is Cuyahoga, 19%.

Second Harvest Food Bank distributes food to 153 hunger relief organizations in the Mahoning Valley. In 2014, the Food Bank distributed 9.5 million pounds of food, including 2 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are constantly working to provide up-to-date solutions for the Mahoning Valley community that we serve,” said Michael Iberis, executive director at Second Harvest Food Bank. “Findings from “Map the Meal Gap 2015” helps hunger-relief organizations like ours better quantify the economic issues that so many of our neighbors deal with.”

The state of Ohio’s 16.9% food insecurity rate is higher than the national rate 15.8% and higher than all other Midwestern states except Missouri (17%), Iberis notes. The report also found that about one in four children in Ohio (24.2%) live in food insecure households.

The research was funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen, a provider of statistical information.

County and congressional district food-insecurity details and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.