More than a million Hoosiers hungry as the problem of food insecurity gets worse

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Even with the thousands of dollars in donations from FOX59’s Pack the Pantries, hundreds of people do not know where they will get their next meal and the food insecurity problem just continues to get worse.

“One out of six people or over a million people in the state of Indiana are food insecure and 320,000 of them are kids,” said executive director of the Midwest Food Bank John Whitaker.

Whitaker says those numbers are just a glimpse at the major problem of food insecurity in Indiana.

“Food insecure is a nicer way of saying they are hungry. They are in the poverty level and they experience missed meals and improper nutrition in their daily intake of food,” said Whitaker.

The Midwest Food Bank and Gleaners Food Bank work with thousands of people every day to bridge the gap between prosperity and poverty and supply food free of charge to agencies who serve the needy. Gleaners alone is responsible for feeding 316,000 hungry Hoosiers but say each year they have the supply to only feed 260,000.

“Just right there we have a gap in the number of people that are hungry and the people that need our assistance and the number of people we can feed. The donations that are coming in today allow us to take a dollar and stretch it into three meals through food donations and food recovery,” said Sara Estell of Gleaners Food Bank.

Estell says the goal is to get ahead of the hunger problem but even with FOX59’s Pack the Pantries raising enough money to provide thousands of meals for those in need, dozens of mobile pantry units around central Indiana, and hundreds of pounds of food donations each year, Indiana’s food insecurity is getting worse.

“The median income in Indiana has just now gotten back to where it was in 2008. People that were struggling are just getting back to where they were ten years ago,” said Estell.

Hoosiers still need your help.

“We are all struggling in Indiana and it does not show signs of going away anytime soon,” said Estell.