FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 2014
Montana Food Bank Network Releases New Report on Hunger in Montana
The Montana Food Bank Network’s Hungry in Montana 2014 report will be released this week, highlighting the experiences of food pantry clients across the state. The report is based on a survey of approximately 200 pantry clients from rural, urban, and reservation areas. The report provides a better understanding of both the contributing factors and the consequences of hunger in Montana. Survey participants share information on a variety of subjects including their employment situation, sources of income, participation in public food programs, prevalence of skipped meals, access to health care, and frequency of food pantry visits.
The Hungry in Montana report is an enormously valuable tool for both education and advocacy. According to Gayle Gifford, CEO of the Montana Food Bank Network, “The survey is a chance to sit down with food pantry clients and talk to them about what is happening in their lives. By gathering information on the factors contributing to food insecurity, as well as the role of various resources, we can better target our work and demonstrate the importance of continued support for both private and public food programs. ”
Of the households who participated in the survey, more than 40% included children and one-third included seniors. Approximately 37% of households included at least one working adult. Of those not working, most were disabled, retired, or looking for work. The main reasons clients reported needing food assistance included low wages, living on a fixed income, food prices, fuel prices, housing costs, SNAP or other food assistance ran out.
Clients also shared the ways in which food insecurity impacts their lives on a day to day basis. Many clients reported skipping meals, delaying medical care, or having to make difficult choices between paying for food and other necessities. Faith, a food pantry client in Hardin shared, “Right now we are really struggling. I am the sole provider. My husband had surgery and we got behind on bills. He has another surgery this week. I know we won’t have enough money for food so that’s why I’m here today.”
Hungry in Montana 2014 is the Montana Food Bank Network’s sixth report examining hunger in Montana. “Our findings demonstrate the importance of addressing the root causes of hunger, while also supporting and strengthening the programs that help families keep food on the table,” says Lorianne Burhop, Public Policy Manager at the Montana Food Bank Network.
The report includes concrete recommendations for action and invites concerned citizens, program managers and policy makers to get involved.
MFBN’s Hungry in Montana 2014 report is available at www.mfbn.org/research.
For more information, please visit www.mfbn.org or call (406) 721-3825 ext. 225.