Native Americans experience many unique challenges and are more likely to face hunger:
- A long history of harmful federal policies has led to high rates of poverty and high rates of food insecurity in Native communities in the United States.
- According to the American Community Survey, one in three Native Americans lives in poverty due to a lack of stable employment and low wages.
- Only 28 counties in the United States have a population that is majority Native American. However, 18 of those counties are estimated to have experienced higher rates of hunger in 2020.
- The USDA found that only 26% of Native communities are within one mile from a supermarket, compared to 59% of all people living in the United States. This makes it very difficult for people living in Native communities to benefit from federal food programs like SNAP.
To address hunger in Native American communities, Feeding America is working with national organizations to meet the needs of local communities. Local food banks also work closely with Native American communities to increase access to food.
There's a stereotype that people that go to food banks are lazy. The majority of the people we serve are hard-working people.
Sally Latimer, the co-director of the pantry, joined the organization in 2018 as a way to give back to her tribe. She also knows what it’s like to be hungry. After her husband passed away a decade ago, she became the sole provider for her family. “Every time I hand a bag of food to someone, it’s me giving back just a tiny bit of what was given to me,” she said.