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For people facing hunger, poverty is just one issue

41 million Americans struggle with hunger, a number nearly equal to the 40.6 million officially living in poverty. Based on annual income, 72% of the households the Feeding America network served in 2014 lived at or below the federal poverty level with a median annual household income of $9,175.

Though they often go hand in hand, poverty is just one of several issues tied to hunger. Unemployment, household assets and even demographics can also make it difficult to access the nutritious food people need to thrive.

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Real Story of Hunger: Meet Victoria and Steven

Victoria and Steven were living the American dream comfortably with their son. But when they had to relocate to take care of Victoria’s aging mother and aunt, they were forced to spend all their savings and found themselves with nothing. Steven and Victoria turned to their local food pantry for the help they needed. By providing meals to families in tough times, the Feeding America network of food banks is helping make sure all Americans can get — and stay — on their feet.

Watch Victoria and Steven's story ›

Facts about poverty and hunger in America

Even in the world’s greatest food-producing nation, children and adults face poverty and hunger in every county across America. In 2016:

  • 41 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children. In 2015, 5.4 million seniors struggled to afford enough to eat.
  • A household that is food insecure has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
  • Households with children were more likely to be food insecure than those without children
  • 59% of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the major federal food assistance program — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps); the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (often called WIC)

For more statistics and information on this issue, download our Hunger and Poverty Fact Sheet ›

Feeding America works to lift people out of poverty

More than half of the households that the Feeding America network serves receive SNAP benefits, and nearly all Feeding America households with school-aged children receive free or reduced-priced lunch. Participation in these federal programs is just one indicator of how great the need is among the people we serve. Thankfully, there is a Feeding America network foodbank that touches every single county in the country.

Give to Feeding America today

For every dollar donated, the Feeding America network of food banks secures and distributes 11 meals to people facing hunger — including those fighting through poverty.

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