What Does Hunger Look Like in St. Louis today?

What Level of Poverty Does St. Louis Experience?

The latest statistics show that 41.3% of all children in St. Louis (city) were in families below the poverty level.

Childhood Hunger in St. Louis

135,000 kids in St. Louis are at risk for hunger (U.S. Census Bureau 2010 stats). This represents enough children to fill Busch Stadium three times. 85% of children enrolled in St. Louis Public Schools rely on free or reduced-cost meal programs.  Many of these kids go home where there is little or no food. In 2011, St. Louis was ranked #65 out of the top 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, stating that 17.5% of the citizens of the St. Louis metro area experience daily food insecurity. (frac.org, March 2011)

Childhood Hunger in Missouri

Across Missouri in the last 10 years, there was a 79.1% increase in participation of free/reduced breakfast/lunch program. Missouri is #5 out of 50 states with highest rate of Kid’s Food Insecurity (Food Insecurity means you don’t know from day to day where your food will come from or how you’ll provide food for your family). 23% of kids are affected by hunger in Missouri, or almost 1 out of every 4 kids. In 2011 Missouri was ranked #22 among the states with 19.9% of it’s citizens experiencing low or very low food security; this means that 1 out of ever 5 people in Missouri do not know where their next meal will come from. (frac.org, Sept. 2011)

Hunger at the National Level

In 2009, the USDA’s report on Household Food Security in US determined that 50.1 million Americans, including 17 million children, lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis or are food insecure.

The Changing Faces of Hunger

The current economic climate has created a 20% increase in demand on services from Operation Food Search, and this only represents a portion of the increased need.  When a family is challenged financially they are forced to make difficult decisions about what to pay first. Do they pay their rent/mortgage, buy medicine, or keep up on the utilities?  Most of the time, buying food is one of the last priorities because it is an expense they can “control.”  When this happens families become “food insecure”, which means they don’t know where their next meal will come from.

Learn More

Food Research and Action Center: www.frac.org

Dept. of Argiculture – Food Desert Locator: www.ers.usda.gov

Feeding America: www.feedingamerica.org