1. Food Hardship
A recently released study showed the hardest hit markets for families not being able to afford adequate food. The Orlando area ranked #10 in the nation for food hardship with 23.6% of the population struggling — higher than the State and national averages.
2. Childhood Hunger
Orlando has a higher percentage of children in poverty that are of school age than the rest of Florida or the overall United States. One in six children lives on the brink of hunger in Florida. The number is closer to one in four for Central Florida. Orlando: 23.3% vs. overall U.S.: 17%
3. The Meal Gap
A study released March 2011 shows that Central Florida ranks higher than the national average for a measurement of what percentage of the population is in need of food. This study also measured the Gap in terms of dollars needed to provide missing meals over the course of one year. For Central Florida the gap is $84,548,545.00.
4. Poverty Rate
For Central Florida, there are approximately 400,000 people living in poverty, almost 20% of the population. Just over 100,000 of that population are children.
5. Hunger Study
The Hunger Study for Central Florida measures several indicators every four years on the hunger landscape. One key measurement is the number of different people receiving help through our feeding programs. In 2004 the number of people was 298,000. When measured in 2009, it grew to 732,000 people….a 152% increase. This increase outpaces most parts of the country. Florida ranks #1 in Nation for increase in households struggling with hunger . Increase from 2004-2006 period of 8.9% to 14.2 % for 2007-2009.
6. 211 Calls
The number of 211 calls for help in Central Florida increased by 43% from 2009 to 2010. The increase continues in 2011. Food assistance is one of the top three requests.
7. Food Stamp (SNAP) Usage
SNAP usage has increased in Central Florida by 32.8% vs. the State average of 20.8% from 2009 – 2010. One in six Floridians use Food Stamps. There was a 113% increase in Florida from 2007 -2009 in the number of people who lived in households that had no other cash income other than Food Stamps.
U.S = 8.9% rate vs. Metro Orlando = 10.8%. Surrounding Counties in Central Florida have a rate as high as 12%.
9. Under- Employment
Florida ranks fifth in the nation as a percentage of people that are considered under-employed…. ranging from 21% – 24.9% . While we do not have Central Florida data, we believe this range fits or may be understated due to the heavy tourism base and the tens of thousands of low paying jobs related to that industry.
10. The Perfect Storm
All of the previous nine key indicators add up to a perfect storm of a dire situation. This data paints the picture of Central Florida’s dubious distinction as a geographic area in great need. When compared to other markets across the country, Central Florida, unfortunately, stands out as an area of higher need.
A really great way to fight hunger is to attend one of our regularly scheduled “Food for Thought” informational tours at either our Orlando or Volusia Branch locations. You’ll get a sense of how a Food Bank works and what an incredible difference we are able to make for people who are struggling to put food on the table. We don’t ask for contributions at Food for Thought. Instead, we hope that our guests will be motivated to tell others about our mission, and be inclined to take action at some point in the future themselves. To look at available tour dates and to sign up online, please visit our Food for Thought page.
CEO & President
Sources: Food Research and Action Center (Washington, DC 2010 Study), Center on Hunger (Echo Strategies), Hunger in Central Florida 2009 (USDA and Economic Research Services), U.S. Census Bureau, Florida Impact 2010, Heart of Florida United Way, Florida Department of Children & Families, New York Times / Florida Department of Children & Families, Gallup Poll, 2010