Kentucky newspapers did a tremendous job in 2020 helping to promote Hunger Action Month and the successes from that continue today. There are still examples almost weekly of the communities and organizations around the state helping to end hunger, and much of that stems from newspapers making the public aware of how severe it is, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Kentuckians across the Commonwealth.
September is always designated as Hunger Action Month so we hope you’ll start thinking about what your staff might do to educate your readers about the project and to bring their attention to those who wonder where their next meal is coming from.
Feeding Kentucky is preparing this year’s media packet and the plan is for KPA to make it available to you around August 17.
The packet will include some current data on food insecurity in Kentucky and with hope the effort you made in educating the public will show Kentucky has improved over previous years.
Kentucky has the ninth highest rate in the nation of people struggling to put food on the table. In Kentucky, 644,000 people struggle with hunger and may not know where they will find their next meal. That number includes one in every five kids who may not have enough to eat.
After nearly 10 years, food insecurity levels for most communities across the country, including Kentucky, had reached their lowest levels in 2018, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study. However, analysis from Feeding America’s The Impact of the Coronavirus on Local Food Insecurity shows that progress made to food insecurity in the past decade will likely be wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food insecurity exists in every Kentucky county, ranging from 7.4% in Oldham County to 27.5% in Harlan County projected for 2021. Six Kentucky counties are included in the list of 25 US counties with the highest overall food insecurity rates: Harlan, Bell, Magoffin, Breathitt, Clay and Wolfe.
1 in 5 Kentucky kids are food insecure. Childhood food insecurity is linked to developmental delays, poor academic performance and behavioral problems, and increased risk of obesity. Only 1 in 11 kids who receive free and reduced meals eat summer meals.
Start thinking now about how your newspaper can educate the public about Hunger Action Month and what projects you might get involved in or initiate. And then be watching for the Feeding Kentucky/Hunger Action Month media packet coming next week.