The Rhode Island Community Food Bank has released their latest Status Report on Hunger in RI today. It shows that 54,000 Rhode Island households—that’s 1 in 8 households in the state—still do not have the resources to purchase adequate food. The number of Rhode Islanders served by the Food Bank and it’s member agencies has nearly doubled since 2007, and there are 174,000 Rhode Islanders enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which is double the number from before the recession.
“Hunger has severe consequences for children and seniors. Poor nutrition leads to poor health and undermines the investment that Rhode Island has made in improving healthcare. Fortunately, we know how to solve the problem of hunger. We can begin by making better use of programs that protect children and seniors from hunger,” said Andrew Schiff, CEO of the RI Community Food Bank.
While the number of food insecure in our state is down from the previous 3-year period of 2009-2011, it is still painfully clear that 12.7% of Rhode Islanders are unable to meet their basic food needs. This includes children and the elderly for which hunger can be life-threatening. As the Food Bank’s 2015 Status Report shows:
Hunger is a problem that we can solve. By fully implementing effective nutrition programs and reaching those most in need, we can ensure that no one in Rhode Island goes hungry. To accomplish this goal, we need Rhode Islanders to join us in calling for the following policy changes:
- Advocate for Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition programs that provide healthy, nutritious food to low-income children and families.
- Increase SNAP benefit levels to keep up with the rising cost of food.
- Allocate additional state funding for the Food Bank to meet the continued high demand for food assistance.
- Raise the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to boost the incomes of working families.
- Offer free school breakfast and lunch to all students in high-poverty communities.
You can download and read the entire 2015 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island. For more information on the needs and resources in Rhode Island and in each of it’s 39 cities and towns, the Rhode Island Food Policy Council has assembled Rhode Island Food System 2015 Snapshots which includes information on SNAP and WIC participants, food pantries and more.