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Advocacy List

Child Hunger Hurts Pennsylvania

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. 2013.

  • 555,110 Pennsylvania children are food insecure.
  • Almost half a million children in Pennsylvania received free school lunches during the 2011-12 school year, but only a little more than 106,000 children participated in the Summer Food Service Program - designed to fulfill the nutritional gap when school lets out for the summer.
  • Child hunger causes health problems, behavioral issues, educational problems, and impedes job readiness as an adult.

Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity

Feeding America. 2013.

  • 89,250 children (18.1%) are food insecure in the Food Bank's 11-county service area.
  • 33% of those children are likely ineligible for federal nutrition programs based on their family's income.
  • In 2011, Fayette County had the highest child food insecurity rate in the state of Pennsylvania - at 26.1%.

School Breakfast Scorecard: 2012-2013 School Year

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). January 2014.

  • Pennsylvania ranks 39 out of all states for the percentage of children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school who also participate in the breakfast program.
  • Only 44.9% of Pennsylvania children who receive free or reduced-price lunches also receive free or reduced-price breakfast at school.
  • There was a 2.6% increase in the number of students participating in the breakfast program in Pennsylvania since the 2011-2012 school year.

Childhood Food Insecurity and the Mitigating Role of SNAP

Urban Institute. October 2012.

Children are more likely to be food insecure if living in a household where...

  • Parents' highest education level received is high school diploma or less.
  • There's a large number of younger children.
  • Parents have moderate to severe depression.
  • Parents have fair to poor health.
  • Parents have little social support.

Children are more likely to be food secure if...

  • At least one parent works full-time.
  • The household receives SNAP benefits.

Hunger in the Classroom: Share Our Strength's Teachers Report 2012

Share Our Strength. June 2012.

A survey of K-8 public school teachers from throughout the county showed the following information:

  • 3 out of 5 teachers see students regularly coming to school hungry.
  • Teachers see negative impacts of hunger on students, including inability to concentrate, poor academic performance, and headaches and stomach aches.
  • 53% of teachers purchase food for hungry kids in their classroom.
  • 9 out of 10 teachers think breakfast is extremely important to academic achievement.

The State of America's Children

Children's Defense Fund. 2011.

  • 206,248 (7.6%) Pennsylvania children under the age of 18 lived in extreme poverty in 2009.
  • Over half a million Pennsylvania children received SNAP (food stamp) benefits each month in 2009.

Breakfast for Health

Food Research and Action Center. 2011.

Participation in the school breakfast program has been associated with:

  • Decreased risk of food insecurity and higher intakes of vital nutrients.
  • Improved attendance, behavior and academic performance.
  • Lower body mass index (BMI) - leading to lower rates of obesity in children.
  • Less visits to the school nurse.
  • Decreased tardiness and hyperactivity.

Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation

Food Research and Action Center. 2011.

  • Participation in summer food programs has decreased by 3.1% since July 2008, yet the number of children receiving free/reduced price school lunches has been rising consistently.
  • During the summer of 2010 in Pennsylvania, only 23.7 children participated in summer nutrition programs for every 100 that participated in the school lunch program.

Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on our Nation

John Cook and Karen Jeng. Feeding America. 2009.

  • Child hunger causes health, educational and job-readiness problems.

Reading, Writing and Hungry: The Consequences of Food Insecurity on Children, and on our Nation's Success

Partnership for America's Economic Success. Nov. 2008

Food insecure children...

  • Saw a 13% drop in reading and math scores by the time they reach third grade.
  • Are more likely to be absent from class.
  • Are 4X more likely to need mental health counseling.
  • Are 7X more likely to get into fights.
  • Are 2X more likely to receive special education and repeat a grade.

Children who received SNAP (food stamp) benefits...

  • Saw reduced rates of hospitalizations.
  • Had better vitamin and mineral intake than their food insecure peers not receiving SNAP