A new study says child hunger in Idaho is on the rise.
The organization Feeding America has released a new report, saying one in five Idaho children are struggling with hunger.
“They truly don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and that affects their ability to learn, it affects their ability to play, and it affects their ability to be children when they’re stressed about food,? Idaho Food Bank Pocatello Branch Director Joye Jones said.
The county-by-county numbers show it is a problem here in eastern Idaho.
In Bannock County, 22 percent of children are food insecure, and 20 percent in Bonneville County, according to the report.
“It’s not a little pocket in a community. It’s students in these schools throughout eastern Idaho,? Jones said.
In just a few years, child hunger in the state has skyrocketed.
The report shows a 43 percent increase in food insecurity for kids since a similar study was done in 2008.
“Children are aware that the parents are struggling to feed them. They don’t know if there is enough in the house for breakfast, enough food for dinner. Food insecurity is huge, and when that’s weighing on their mind they’re not able to concentrate on the things that children should be able to,? Jones said.
The problem is two-fold; hard times mean more people are looking for help, and there is less help available.
“It is tied to the economy. Food costs themselves have gone up to the point where even two parent working families that were fairly stable several years ago are now on the verge of having to access resources,? Jones said.
The Idaho Food Bank said many families have to completely change their habits so they can save enough money to keep hungry mouths fed.
“They’re not necessarily looking for packaged goods that are more expensive. They’re learning or starting to learn how to prepare foods that are more basic, and I think that’s the trend we will continue to see,? Jones said.
And the food bank says if you want to help out, now’s a good time. The company Scentsy is matching any donations made until the end of August.