Take a moment and think back to when you are finished grocery shopping and walk up to the register to find the extremely long line ahead of you. The line continues to grow as you wait for your turn at the register. You just want to get home and make the dinner you so carefully planned out.

But, did you know that more than likely, one of those seven people in line with you is food insecure? Like you, they are thinking about the dinner they so carefully planned out. However, they have much less in their carts to make that happen.

Feeding America’s release of Map the Meal Gap 2019 revealed individuals in the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank service area are more likely to face hunger than the overall population across America. The study showed that the individuals in our service area are more likely to be food insecure, with the overall food insecurity rate at 12.5% compared to 14.8% for our service area.

That means 1 in 7 people in our 11-parish service area are facing hunger. Still, 36% of the food insecure individuals in our service area are not eligible for federal nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC.

Another study done by Feeding America, State of Senior Hunger 2019, revealed Louisiana is the number one state in the country with food insecure seniors.

“These seniors living in our community desperately need our support and we must do all we can to provide for the less fortunate who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Mike Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “The summer time in particular is a challenge for seniors who face rising energy costs and have to make the difficult decision to buy less food. We must be there for them.”

As upsetting as it is to learn so many in our service area are food insecure, it is even harder to learn 1 in 5 children in our service area are food insecure as well. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has the BackPack Program for children facing hunger during the school year. However, when those children are out of school they are still facing hunger with very little resources. Similar to the overall statistic, Map the Meal Gap 2019 revealed children in our service area are more likely to face hunger than the overall population of children across America.

Food insecurity is a struggle for everyone, but it is even harder for children in our service area. Without proper access to enough food to live a healthy, active lifestyle, children can suffer academically. “Learning fractions and multiplication is hard enough, it is even harder not knowing if they will have dinner on the table when they get home,” said Manning. “Children are our future and it is crucial they have all they need to succeed.”