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Study shows Lehigh Valley children struggling with hunger


OCTOBER 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Study shows Lehigh Valley children struggling with hunger


REGION, September 22nd- The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania and Feeding America released a new study showing that 21.7 percent of children under the age of 18 living in the Food Bank’s six-county service area are struggling with hunger. Second Harvest is an affiliate of Feeding America, serving Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, Wayne and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania.

Nationally, one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher, nearly one in four children are food insecure.

The study provides data for every county across the nation. The highest rate of child food insecurity in the six-county area is in Carbon County, where the rate is 24.4 percent. There 3,250 children live in households that took access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. In Carbon County, the rate of food insecurity among the general population is 13.9 percent. Children are disproportionately affected by a household’s struggle to put food on the table.

Lehigh County’s rate is 23.2 percent, second only to Carbon County. In Lehigh County, 18,560 children are food insecure. The rates for the other four counties in Second Harvest’s service area are: Northampton County, 20.6 percent, 13,530 children; Monroe, 19.9 percent, 8,090 children; and Pike and Wayne Counties, 21.8 percent, 2,360 children.

“America is failing its families with children. Here in the Lehigh Valley we are doing the best we can, but there is no way our best is enough without effective public policies.

Those who are not getting enough good food to eat are less productive, less able to go about their daily tasks. The risks to their health and well-being have consequences for all of us. We shouldn’t be surprised if, 15 years from now, the children on whom we turned our backs, turn their backs on society,” stated Alan Jennings, Executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, whose agency operates the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania serves low-income people in a six-county region through its own network of 200 non-profit organizations and churches. More than 66,000 individuals in this region rely on Second Harvest for food that they consume each month. Nearly 45 percent of the people served by these agencies are chilren. In 2011, the Food Bank distruted over 5.9 percent million pounds of food through its member agencies. Second Harvest Food Bank is a program of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

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