Millions of families across the country are facing hunger.
News Center 7 is getting real about food inequality.
One in eight households in the United States struggle to put food on the table.
A new USDA report finds the number of families facing hunger is rising at an alarming rate.
It said nearly 13 percent of households were food insecure in 2022.
That means nearly 17 million families were unable to keep up with nutritional needs at least once last year.
That’s much higher than the previous year when only 13.5 million households experienced food hardship.
Geraldine Henchy, an expert from the Food Research and Action Center, said many people suffer in silence.
“It’s taken a big toll on families and individuals. They’re struggling. They’re really struggling. So there is a lot of hunger and it’s across the United States said,” Henchy said.
The rates of food insecurity were especially significant for Black and Hispanic families.
Over 47 percent of families that were dealing with food insecurity included children.
It’s even affected veterans.
“They find themselves facing choices between going hungry or being able to afford the gas to drive to one of the food locations available,” Anthony Stewart, with Us4Warriors said.
One of the reasons food insecurity rose last year is that many pandemic benefits expired in 2022.
Programs that led to a decline in poverty, like SNAP benefits and stimulus payments, led to lower food insecurity rates.
Food insecurity is viewed as a public health issue leading to chronic health conditions, increased anxiety and depression.