Washington, D.C.’s Hunger and Poverty Trends Detailed in New Publication
New Report Includes USDA Food Insecurity Data, Chronicles Participation and Service Gaps in Eight Federal Nutrition Programs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NOVEMBER 20, 2008
CONTACT: Jen Adach
PHONE: 202-986-2200 x3018
Download the report. (pdf)
Washington, D.C. – November 19, 2008 – Too many D.C. households are struggling against hunger, and while the nation’s federal nutrition programs have a wide reach, too many D.C. adults and children continue to slip through the nutrition safety net, according to a new report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
D.C. Hunger Solutions released Washington, D.C. data and joined FRAC in calling on the new Administration and newly elected and returning members of Congress to seize opportunities that would address the growing need, starting with an economic stimulus package that includes a temporary boost in SNAP/Food Stamp benefits.
Compiled annually by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), State of the States provides a comprehensive snapshot of hunger, poverty, and federal nutrition programs for the nation and each state. The report includes detailed state-by-state information on the extent of hunger and poverty, participation in eight federal nutrition programs (including SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC and school meals), and economic data. The full report is available online at www.frac.org.
The report also includes new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that show the extent of hunger in each state and Washington, D.C. In the District, 32,000 households – or one out of nine –struggled against hunger in the average year from 2005-2007.
“New data from USDA show us that hunger is widespread in the nation’s capital, and these data predate the worst part of the recession. All indicators are that the situation is much worse now than a year ago. Public officials must respond,” said Alex Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions.
“Too many District residents are missing out on nutrition programs that can help them. D.C. particularly needs to improve participation in SNAP/Food Stamps among low-income working families, of which just 36 percent of those who are eligible actually receive the benefit,” added Ashbrook.
Findings from the report include:
* While D.C. has the fourth highest participation rate in SNAP/Food Stamps among 24 urban centers, only 36 percent of eligible working poor that are eligible for the program participate.
* D.C. leads the nation in participation in the summer food program fueled by a 70.1 percent increase in average daily summer participation over the past ten years.
* While school breakfast participation has grown by 11 percent over the past 10 years, still only 47 percent of eligible low-income children participate in the School Breakfast Program.
During the campaign, President-elect Barack Obama committed to end childhood hunger in this country by 2015, as well as take other anti-hunger and anti-poverty strides forward. D.C. Hunger Solutions joined FRAC in pledging to work with the Administration and Congress to accomplish this goal.
“On the federal level, Congress most urgently needs to include a temporary increase in SNAP/Food Stamp benefits in a stimulus bill at the first opportunity. Congress also can strengthen and improve these programs through the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization,” said Jim Weill, president of FRAC. “On the state and local levels, officials can make hunger a priority by conducting more outreach to connect eligible families to these programs and adopting policies that make it easier for people to participate.”
About the Report: FRAC’s State of the States contains the latest data from official government sources. The federal nutrition programs covered are: Food Stamps, School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), WIC, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). The report also details economic and social indicators such as food insecurity, poverty, and minimum wage levels.
D.C. Hunger Solutions, a project of the Food Research and Action Center, is dedicated to fighting hunger and obesity and improving the nutrition, health and well-being of children, youth and families in the District of Columbia.
The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is the leading national organization working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and undernutrition.