Hunger issues continue to complicate life for many Kentucky families. This reality is reflected in the just-released "Map the Meal Gap Report".
The meal gap study shows 17 percent of people in the state are food insecure. That figure includes more than 220 thousand Kentucky children. Kentucky Association of Food Banks Director Tamara Sandberg worries food stamp changes over the last year could complicate an already difficult problem. "We're afraid the rate of food insecurity is gonna go up, even the next time we're able to look back and see what happened when those food stamp cuts occurred. Families are struggling. It's families that are doing everything right. They have jobs, they are trying hard to feed their families," said Sandberg.
Fulton County in western Kentucky has the highest food insecurity rate at 23 percent. Oldham County has the lowest at just under ten percent. Still, Sandberg says, hunger remains an issue in every Kentucky County. She says recipients could benefit from a boost in minimum wage. "More than a third of them reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine and medical care and utilities. People who have jobs are often not earning enough to feed their families. So, absolutely, increasing minimum wage would help," added Sandberg.