Nearly one in every four Hoosier children are at risk of going hungry this year, according to a new study released by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief charity.
The study looked into food insecurities at the county and congressional district level and found that 22.7 percent of children in Indiana might not know where they will find their next meal. This issue becomes even more prevalent in the summer.
"As summer begins and Hoosier kids do not have access to school meals, we must take this information as a call to action," said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry. "It is unacceptable for nearly a quarter of all children to be at risk of hunger in Indiana."
The report noted that about 30 percent of the hungry children in the state are not eligible for federal nutrition programs like free or reduced-price school lunches.
Individual results on the county level varied between 26.9 percent hunger in Miami and Starke counties to 14.5 percent in Hamilton County. The results can be viewed on an interactive map at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap that gives specific information about each county.
Local community leaders can use the information collected in this study to assist the hungry in their communities by providing support to local food banks.
Feeding America affiliated food banks can be found statewide and serve low-income individuals and families. Here, families in need can get the food they need during tough times.
"Families at risk can call 2-1-1 to be connected to emergency food services, including locations for kids' meals through the summer food service program," Bryant said. "Those more fortunate can donate food, funds, or time to local food banks and pantries to do what we can to help those in need."
Lauren Casey is a reporter at TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College Journalism students and faculty.