OA new study recently found that one in seven people in Central Florida struggle with hunger, and that number is one in five for local children. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2019 report, many people in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties still don’t know when or where their next meal will come.
Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, believes there are several reasons why so many people are still struggling with hunger, despite a record low unemployment rate.
“Food insecurity rates still haven’t returned to pre-recession levels, which means even though the economy has improved, our hunger problem hasn’t,” said Krepcho. “The continued rise in the cost of living and the affordable housing crisis all play into this. When people struggle to pay rent and cover other monthly living expenses, they tend to cut down on food first. This leads to kids going to school hungry and not being properly nourished.”
The report shows that 143,000 children in the region are food insecure, enough to fill the seats in more than seven Amway Centers. Of Central Florida’s six counties, Volusia County’s food-insecurity rates are significantly higher than the national average. Brevard and Orange counties also were well above national levels. Learn more about hunger in Central Florida.
A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.