As need grows, it is crucial to address underlying causes of hunger

Originally posted on Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Food insecurity is prevalent not only throughout the United States, but right here in our community. Far too many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from, nor do they have access to enough nutritious food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.5 million United States households were food insecure at some point during 2021, and households with children struggle at an even higher rate. According to Children’s Healthwatch, food insecurity impacts the current and future health and development of children, leading to the weakening of the workforce and increased public costs.

Last year, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and our 1,000+ partners served roughly 350,000 residents across a six-county service area, but 557,900 residents were income eligible for food from the Food Bank, with incomes of 200% of poverty or below. This leaves a gap of roughly 208,000 people who are income-eligible for assistance and not receiving it.