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6/18/2013 - New Data Shows NH's Most Vulnerable Populations Have Increased Need for Food Assistance

Manchester, NH (June 18, 2013) – The New Hampshire Food Bank joined with officials at the State House in Concord on Tuesday to release new data regarding the state of hunger in New Hampshire. According to research released by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, the state’s most vulnerable populations have an increased need for food assistance.

Governor Maggie Hassan; Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas of the Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Judy Fillion of the Department of Education; Mel Gosselin, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Food Bank; and Tom Blonski, President and CEO of New Hampshire Catholic Charities presented the findings from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap 2013” study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity.

“The new research found 1 in 9 residents in New Hampshire remain food insecure; however, the number of seniors and children in need are rising.

“Too often, New Hampshire residents go to sleep hungry, with nothing to eat,” Governor Hassan said. “For many, it is because they are stuck making an impossible choice between accessing medical care, paying their rent, heating their homes, or feeding their families. Even though our economy continues to improve, many families remain affected by the recession. We must come together to support the efforts of the New Hampshire Food Bank because when we care for each other, we all grow stronger.”

5% of seniors ages 60 and over are food insecure. This means that more than 13,000 seniors do not know where their next meal is coming from. Over the past 3 years the “Map the Meal Gap” study has shown a steady increase in senior hunger and projected that if the growth remains consistent, 22.3% of seniors will be food insecure in 2030.

1 in 7 children, more than 40,000, in New Hampshire are food insecure. Nearly half these children are not eligible for federal nutrition assistance. Additionally, only 27% of students in grades 1 through 12 are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.

“We are particularly concerned about children who are under-nourished,” said Mel Gosselin, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. “A child who does not receive adequate nutrition may experience behavioral problems, have difficulty concentrating, and has an increased risk of medical problems. Lack of adequate nutrition, even for a brief period of time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental impairments.”

“Map the Meal Gap 2013” also shows:
  • The cost of an average meal in New Hampshire is $2.83, which is .16¢ higher than the national average.
  • Nearly 23 million meals are missing from New Hampshire tables. The number of missing meals times the average meal cost means the total meal funding gap is almost $65 million.

“The problem may seem daunting, but there are many ways that the community can help solve hunger,” Gosselin said. “By becoming active in advocacy work and providing critical donations, individuals and businesses help the Food Bank continue to provide assistance to those in need.”

For more information about how to help, visit www.nhfoodbank.org.

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About the New Hampshire Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, has been working to relieve hunger in the Granite State since 1984. As the state’s only food bank, the New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently procures and distributes nearly 8.5 million pounds of food to needy people through more than 400 non-profit partner agencies. Agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and day care centers. For more information about the New Hampshire Food Bank, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nhfb.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

Contact Information
Nancy Mellitt, New Hampshire Food Bank, nmellitt@nhfoodbank.org

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