Feeding America (the national nonprofit formerly known as America’s Second Harvest) put out a report last week that gives us childhood hunger stats for Washington that we haven’t seen before. Most notably:
- 19 percent of kids in Washington are considered “food insecure”, meaning they don’t get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. (That's 291,234 children.)
- A little more than 18 percent of kids under 5 are food insecure. (73,960 children)
What makes these data particularly depressing is that they're based on government data collected before the recession hit. Childhood hunger in Washington had already been creeping up. When the numbers are in for 2009, we’re likely to see even more Washington kids who aren’t getting enough good food to eat. Washington Kids Count expects at least 40,000 additional kids to drop into poverty in the coming year due to rising unemployment.
The idea that kids aren’t getting enough good food to eat is bad in of itself. Add to that the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on the mind and body, and food insecurity rates like these are disastrous.
The Children’s Alliance is leading an effort to End Childhood Hunger in WA. With the recession pushing hunger rates up, we’ve got our work cut out for us.