For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Matthew 25:35
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For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Matthew 25:35


Household Food Security in the United States, 2013 released in September 2014 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reveals that hunger (officially known as very low food security) and food insecurity have continued to remain at elevated levels in Pennsylvania households in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Very low food security (defined as involuntarily going without food due to not being able to afford it) affected 4.8% of Pennsylvania households in 20011-13; up from 3.4% during the 2005-07, prior to the onset of the economic recession. According to the study, 11.9% of Pennsylvania households were food insecure – lacking access to sufficient food to meet their nutritional needs.

Map the Meal Gap 2014, released in April 2014 by Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks, found similarly high levels of food insecurity among individuals in Pennsylvania. The only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States, Map the Meal Gap 2014 found that in 2012, 14.3 percent of people across the Commonwealth were food insecure, including 20.6 percent of all Pennsylvania children.

Other specific findings from this report include:
– Nearly 1.83 million Pennsylvanians –1 in 7 – is at risk of hunger.
– Nearly 563,000 children under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania – 1 in 5 – are at risk of hunger.
– The cost to completely close the meal gap in Pennsylvania and ensure that every person has continuous access to food would be approximately $876,686,000 per year.
– The 5 counties with the highest rates of food insecurity among the general population are: Philadelphia (22.1%), Fayette (15.1%), Cameron (14.7%), Dauphin (14.5%), and Luzerne (14.5%).
– The 5 counties with the highest rates of child food insecurity are: Fayette (25.7%), Cameron (25.4%), Venango (24.7%), Luzerne (23.9%), and Crawford (23.7%).

Data released in February 2013 by the Food Research and Action Center in the report, Food Hardship in America 2012, found that Pennsylvanians continue to be plagued by hunger. The data is this report is based on responses reported to the Gallup organization as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The data in this report revealed that 16.5 % of Pennsylvania households answered “yes” when asked if there had been times in the year when they did not have enough money to buy food that they or their family needed.

A 2015 study, “How Hungry is America?”, shows one in six American households — 17.2 percent — reported they didn’t have enough money to buy the food their families needed at times during 2014. The report by the Food Research and Action Council shows that while the economy is improving, tens of millions of people are still struggling to afford the basics.

Read the Briefing Paper on Hunger in Pennsylvania prepared by LAMPa and other hunger organizations for the Governor Wolf Transition Team in 2015.

Find out about the work of Hunger Free Lancaster County on their website and in recent news articles.