Thousands uncertain of the next meal

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More than 100,000 people are in danger of going hungry each day in South Dakota.

Hunger and food insecurity is not limited to age, race or geographic location.

In 2021, an estimated 12.2% of South Dakota residents 60 and older are food insecure, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings.

In 2017, 34,790 children, or 16% of all children, lived in food insecure homes according to the Children’s Defense Fund.

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106,646 people are in danger of going hungry each day, according to Feeding South Dakota. An estimated 12.2% of South Dakota residents 60 and older are food insecure, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings.

In some cases a family may need to sell personal property to buy food or rely on family or friends to help supply food.

The USDA defines food insecurity as this: households are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, at some time during the year, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. Food insecurity can create hunger and hunger can be a longer condition than food insecurity.

After improved conditions in 2019, conditions worsened in 2020 and early 2021, according to Feeding South Dakota/Feeding America. Conditions didn’t get as bad as they could have because of federal and other assistance. But for 2021, conditions could decline from 2019 to a projected 16% of children with food insecurity in 2021 compared to 15.3% in 2019.

A variety of programs have been developed to address food insecurity and hunger.

Feeding South Dakota, a member of Feeding America, tracks hunger and food insecurity in the state. It also provides food to those in need throughout South Dakota as well as supplying food to food banks and food pantries in the state.

Feeding South Dakota also administers the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) in many counties. Western Community Action administers the CFSP program in several western South Dakota counties. CSFP provides food boxes to low-income persons 60 and older.

Other USDA programs are Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (SNAP).

The federal free and reduce lunch program in schools has expanded to include breakfasts.

Schools can also provide a summer lunch program.

During the 2017-2018 school year, 49,649 students participated in the free and reduced lunch program while 23,007 participated in the breakfast program, the Children’s Defense Fund said.

South Dakota’s Native Americans make up about 9% of the state’s population. Tribal lands have some of the highest food insecurity rates in the state.

Ziebach, Dewey, Todd, Buffalo, Oglala Lakota, and Corson counties all have rates above 20%, according to Feeding South Dakota.

Oglala Lakota County has a child food insecurity rate of 39.6%.

Twenty-three percent of Native Families live with low food security, according to the Northern Plains Reservation Aid.

Poverty is often a contributing factor to food insecurity and hunger. Twelve percent of South Dakota’s population lives in poverty.

Fifteen percent of the state’s children live in poverty while 22% have parents who lack secure employment, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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