(OKLAHOMA CITY) – May 31, 2018 – The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2018, the latest report by Feeding America on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. Map the Meal Gap 2018 reveals food insecurity exists in each of the 53 counties in the Regional Food Bank’s service area. Additionally, 33 percent of Oklahomans who are food insecure don’t qualify for federal nutrition assistance and must rely upon charitable food programs like the Regional Food Bank.
Overall, the study shows that 635,740 individuals are considered food insecure in Oklahoma. On a county basis, food insecurity ranges from a low of 8.9 percent of the population in Beaver County up to 19.8 percent in Payne County. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
The report also finds the people living with hunger in the 53 central and western counties served by the Regional Food Bank do not qualify to participate in federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In Canadian County alone, that’s 49 percent of the population who may only be relying upon charitable food programs like the Regional Food Bank.
“Across central and western Oklahoma, the Regional Food Bank works with more than 1,300 community-based schools and charitable feeding programs to help the one in six Oklahomans with inconsistent access to healthy food,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “That’s why support from the community is so important. Every dollar donated provides four meals for chronically hungry children, seniors on fixed incomes and hardworking families.”
The Regional Food Bank is one of 200 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans living with hunger. Last year, the Regional Food Bank provided more than 43.4 million meals to hungry Oklahomans.
“The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks works hard to deliver more than 4 billion meals annually to people facing hunger, yet SNAP serves 12 meals for every one meal provided through our network,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As Congress debates the 2018 Farm Bill, programs such as SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and trying to make ends meet have the essential food resources they need.”
This is the eighth consecutive year Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study. The Map the Meal Gap 2018 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners, food banks and individual advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level. A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org. Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2018 on Twitter using #MealGap.
Map the Meal Gap 2018 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen. The study’s findings underscore the depth of need that remains in communities in Oklahoma and across the nation, despite national measures from the USDA that indicate overall improvement.
The lead researcher of Map the Meal Gap 2018 is Dr. Craig Gundersen, professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group.
Together, we can end hunger in Oklahoma. For more information about the Regional Food Bank, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit regionalfoodbank.org/donate or call 405-972-1111.
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger relief organization. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 136,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 653 million pounds of food to feed Oklahomans living with hunger. For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.