Map the Meal Gap 2018, a study released by Feeding America, is focused on food insecurity and the cost of food at the county level.
Angie Grote, Communications Manager at Food Bank for the Heartland, says the report explores every county across the United States, using data from 2016 from the USDA, the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Grote says this is the 8th year for the study and explains food banks across the country, advocates and policy makers all find the information to be extremely important.
Grote says the data is used to explore hunger at the state level, as well as to look at what’s trending nationally.
She says results indicate there are an estimated 227,000 Nebraskans who are considered food insecure.
"Which means they may not have regular access to the food they need to be healthy. And that is almost 12% of the state’s population and that includes 82,000 children who are under the age of 18. In Douglas County, the food insecurity rate is a little higher. It’s 13.5%.”
Grote says that equates to 73,000 people in the state’s most populous county.
For those who aren’t eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks are especially important to help fill the food gaps for these individuals.
In fiscal year 2017, Nebraska’s Feeding America member food banks connected individuals to more than 30 million meals.
For more information on Map the Meal Gap 2018, the website is map.feedingamerica.org.