LEWISTON – October is Hunger Awareness Month in Idaho, which shines a light on the challenges for individuals and families facing hunger. This is also an opportunity to highlight and strengthen the partnerships and coalitions that work together to address hunger in Idaho.
Nearly 9 percent of Idahoans – over 152,000 people – are facing food insecurity according to the most recent Map the Meal Gap report from Feeding America, which is based on 2020 data. This includes 10.5 percent of Idaho children.
Rural counties in Idaho, and across the United States, continue to have some of the highest rates of food insecurity. Rural counties make up 63 percent of all U.S counties but represent 87 percent of counties with food insecurity rates in the top 10 percent. In other words, counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are disproportionately rural. The Idaho Foodbank’s mobile pantries are one of the tools to serve our rural communities.
For the first time, this year’s Map the Meal Gap report includes additional information about food insecurity by race/ethnicity. This report found that 17 percent of the Hispanic population in Idaho is experiencing food insecurity. The Idaho Foodbank is continuing to refine our services to rural, marginalized, and high need communities in Idaho.
Recognizing the short-term and long-term impact hunger is having on individuals and communities, The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health was held at the end of September. It has been 50 years since the last White House Conference on Hunger, so this brought an important spotlight on food insecurity. Prior to the conference The Idaho Foodbank shared feedback with the White House and Feeding America from two of our listening sessions with Idahoans who have experienced food insecurity. We will continue to engage in the follow-up discussions and activities around the national strategy announced at the conference.
“We have to work together if we want to solve food insecurity in Idaho,” said Mike Wigen, North Central Branch Manager of The Idaho Foodbank. “We are grateful for our community partners and our coalitions that are working to solve hunger and improve the well-being of the people we serve.”
During Idaho Hunger Awareness Month, The Idaho Foodbank hosted the first in-person A Chefs’ Affaire fundraising event in Lewiston, with Title Sponsor Edward Jones. Attendees enjoyed a four-course meal from chefs Magen Fairley and Connie Garcia and Professor Rodney Farrington. The event also showcased the talent of LC State’s culinary students. Thank you to our additional sponsors: Optum; Agri Beef; Sysco; Rob & Melva Prasil; Idaho Central Credit Union; Tri-State Memorial Hospital; CCI & Spear; and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center for making this event possible.
More information on Idaho Hunger Awareness Month activities can be found on The Idaho Foodbank’s website and social media accounts.
If you or someone you know needs food assistance, please go to The Idaho Foodbank’s Food Assistance Locator: idahofoodbank.org/getfood.