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One In Seven Texans Struggle To Put Food On The Table

Courtesy San Antonio Food Bank

The number of people who have experienced hunger in the U.S. exceeds the combined populations of Texas, Michigan and Maine.

Forty-one million Americans, including almost 13 million children, were food insecure in 2016, according to the latest data. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a household suffers from food insecurity when it is "uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members" due to insufficient resources.

Nationwide, rates of food insecurity have gone down since the recession circa 2008 caused a spike in the number of hungry Americans, but not by much. The decrease from 2015 to 2016 was not statistically significant.

In Texas, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey displaced more than one million people, causing a greater strain to feed those affected. 

What role do social services like school lunch programs, on-campus food pantries and SNAP – the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – play for families in need?

Why hasn't there been more progress in reducing the number of hungry families? What can be done to prevent hunger in San Antonio and across Texas? 


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.