Hunger Continuing as Major Issue in Kentucky, Meal Gap Study Reports

Apr 21, 2014

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Hunger issues continue to complicate life for many Kentucky families.  This reality is reflected in the just-released "Map the Meal Gap Report".

The meal gap study, released by Feeding America, shows 17 percent of people in the state are food insecure. That figure includes more than 220,000 Kentucky children. Fulton County had the highest food insecurity rate at 23 percent.

Kentucky Association of Food Banks Director Tamara Sandberg worries food stamp changes over the last year could complicate an already difficult problem.

"We're afraid the rate of food insecurity is going to go up, even the next time we're able to look back and see what happened when those food stamp cuts occurred.  Families are struggling. It's families that are doing everything right.  They have jobs, they are trying hard to feed their families," Sandberg said.

Oldham County has the lowest food insecurity rate at just under 10 percent.  Still, Sandberg says, hunger remains an issue in every Kentucky County.  She says recipients could benefit from a boost in minimum wage.

"More than a third of them reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine and medical care and utilities. People who have jobs are often not earning enough to feed their families.  So, absolutely, increasing minimum wage would help," added Sandberg.