OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new study suggests that food insecurity rates in central and western Oklahoma are higher than the national average.
Feeding America released the ‘Map the Meal Gap 2020’ report to provide local-level estimates of food insecurity across the United States.
Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
“The economic downturn, slumping economy and COVID-19 pandemic have hit Oklahomans hard,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “The Regional Food Bank is committed to continuing to meet the rise in need for food assistance head-on.”
According to the study, one in six Oklahomans struggle with hunger. One in four Oklahomans are food insecure, the study says.
Feeding America has also released an interactive map based on the study to predict changes to food insecurity rates for the overall population and children in response to projected changes to poverty and unemployment in the wake of the pandemic.
Analysts predict that food insecurity rates will climb higher than the peak of the Great Recession across the nation. In all, 54 million people could be food insecure in 2020.
Locally, an additional 216,370 Oklahomans could become food insecure in the wake of the pandemic with child food insecurity rates moving from 21.8% to 31.5%, or nearly one in three Oklahoma children.
“As our staff and network work to find innovative ways to feed Oklahomans living with food insecurity, we need the support of our communities,” Bunting said. “For every dollar donated to the Regional Food Bank, we are able to provide the equivalent of four meals to our service area.”
Donations to Regional Food Bank can be made by visiting rfbo.org/give or by calling 405-972-1111.
If you are in need of food assistance, visit rfbo.org/get-help and enter a zip code to find the Regional Food Bank partner nearest you or call 405-972-1111.