An estimated 1 in 12 Montanans and 28,400 children experience food insecurity.

Updated September 2023

What is food insecurity?

The inability to access food consistently results in reduced quality or a lack of nutrient-dense food.

What is hunger?

Hunger is defined as the uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food. Hunger occurs when households must reduce food intake or skip meals because they lack sufficient resources for food.

The consequences of hunger are severe and long-lasting:

  • Individuals experiencing food insecurity have increased rates of both physical and mental health challenges.
  • Children experiencing food insecurity are more likely to have impaired cognitive development, lower math and reading scores, and higher rates of absenteeism.
  • Food insecurity among older adults leads to health problems that include an increased chance of being hospitalized, worsening of chronic conditions, and a weakened immune system.
  • Hunger has a significant economic impact on our state due to preventable healthcare costs, lower educational attainment, and lost productivity in the workforce.

Hunger in Montana

Hunger is directly related to the larger problem of economic insecurity in our state.  Low wages, job loss, and insufficient fixed incomes leave many families unable to keep food on the table while trying to afford the rising costs of housing, child care, and medical care.

Limited access to food also contributes to hunger and food insecurity in Montana.  More than 58,000 Montanans live in areas that have limited access to a grocery store or supermarket, making access to fresh, affordable food a daily challenge.

Montana Food Bank Network is a network to end hunger in Montana

Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) has over 360 network partners across Montana providing food to those in need. In 2023, MFBN distributed 13,896,595 meals to our food pantry and meal program partners. In addition to providing emergency food, MFBN works to increase participation in public food programs and supports policies to bring sustainable long-term solutions to hunger.

We cannot do it alone

You can join us today by donating, advocating, or volunteering to help us end hunger in Montana.

Please contact us at [email protected] or call directly (406) 721-3825 to get involved.

Research & Reports

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Our Montana Hunger Report highlights findings from a survey of neighbors accessing food at a food pantry in Montana, as well as stories from individuals experiencing food insecurity. The report helps to illustrate the impacts of and factors contributing to hunger in our state.

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