Report shows 16 percent of Nebraskans struggle to afford enough food for their families

Omaha, NE – A new report shows 16 percent of Nebraska families struggled last year to afford enough food.

Nebraska Appleseed released the report from the Food Research and Action Center earlier this week. In the Omaha metro area, nearly 19 percent of families reported not having enough money to buy food at least once in the past year.

Kate Bolz of Nebraska Appleseed says the economy and low-wage jobs are the primary reasons families can't afford to buy food. "Some of it is Nebraska-specific because Nebraska tends to have a higher proportion of low-wage jobs than other states in the nation. So in some cases, it's inability to access employment, in other cases it's inability to access quality employment."

Bolz says food hardship has a profound effect on quality of life, particularly for children. "Kids who aren't able to access food aren't able to grow in a healthy way, they're unable to concentrate on their studies, and they have been found to have long-term health impacts when they haven't accessed healthy, nutritious foods, particularly in the area of childhood obesity."

Nebraska Appleseed recommends the state should do more to educate low-income residents about services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. She says nonprofits and schools should also work together on summer nutrition and breakfast programs for children.