Hunger in America

National Hunger Study: Hunger in America 2010

A Feeding America Report on Emergency Food Distribution in the United States

Food Bank for Westchester is a member of Feeding America, the national food bank network. In 2009, Feeding America conducted the largest study ever of domestic hunger. The Food Bank for Westchester and other local food banks around the country cooperated with and participated in the study, which draws on data from more than 61,000 interviews with clients and surveys of 37,000 feeding agencies. The detailed findings were published in Hunger in America 2010, which includes comprehensive and statistically valid data on our emergency food distribution system and the people Feeding America serves.

The report shows that hunger is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States, and our national food bank network is expanding its reach in response.

Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children. This is an increase of 46 percent over 2006, when the national network was feeding 25 million Americans, including 9 million children, each year.

That means 1 in 8 Americans now rely on Feeding America and its local food banks for food and groceries.

Thirty-six percent of the households served have at least one person working.

More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities, and medical care.

The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.

Key Findings

The 37 million Americans served annual by Feeding America include nearly 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors.

Each week, approximately 5.7 million people receive emergency food assistance from an agency served by a Feeding America member. This is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in Hunger in America 2006, which reported that 4.5 million people were served each week.

These numbers are based on surveys conducted at emergency feeding centers, such as soup kitchens and food pantries, but do not factor in many individuals also served at non-emergency locations, such as Kids Cafe programs and senior centers

Client Households

  • 76 percent (10 million) of client households served are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where they will find their next meal.
  • 36 percent of these client households are experiencing food insecurity with hunger, meaning they are sometimes completely without a source of food.
  • 79 percent (11 million) of households with children served are also food insecure.
  • Of the 37 million people Feeding America network serves:
    • 70 percent of households have incomes below the federal poverty line.The average monthly income for client households is $940.
    • 36 percent of households have one or more adults who is working.
    • 10 percent of client households are homeless

Tough Choices

Many of the client households served by Feeding America food banks report that their household incomes are inadequate to cover their basic household expenses.

  • 46 percent of client households served report having to chgoose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food.
  • 39 percent of client households said they had to choose between paying for rent or a mortgage and food.
  • 34 percent of client households report having to choose between paying for medical bills and food.
  • 35 percent of client households must choose between transportation and food.

One in four client households (24 percent) do not have health insurance and hearly half of our adult clients report that they have unpaid medical and hospital bills.

Thirty percent of households report having at least one member of their household in poor health.

Role of Federal Government

  • 54.4 percent of pantries, 33.5 percent of kitchens, and 31.4 percent of shelters receive food from TEFAP.
  • 41 percent of client households are receiving SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits, an increase of 64 percent over 2006.
  • Among households with school-age children, 62 percent participate in the federal school lunch program and 54 percent participate in the school breakfast progrm.
  • 54 percent of client households with children ages 0 to 3 participate in the WIC program, compared to 51 percent in 2006.
  • Among households with school-age children, 62 percent participate in the federal school lunch program and 54 percent participate in the school breakfast program.

In Westchester County

  • The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that approximately 68 percent of pantries, 42 percent of soup kitchens, and 15 percent of emergency shelters rely solely on volunteers and have no paid staff.
  • 55 percent of Westchester's front-line hunger relief programs are faith-based agencies affilitated with churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious organizations; 33 percent are other types of nonprofit organizations.
  • The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that approximately 200,000 county residents are hungry or at risk of hunger. Half of them are seniors; approximately one-third are children under the age of 18.  


Who We Help
Children under age 18 years 33%
Seniors 51%
White 19%
African American 37%
Hispanic 43%
Female 58%
Male 42%
US Citizen 68%
Registered Voters 57%
Homeless 1%

Food Bank for Westchester is registered as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, Tax ID: 13-3507988

Main Address: 200 Clearbrook Road, Elmsford, NY 10523 | (914) 923-1100 |

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