Food insecurity remains a pressing issue in the DMV

The Capital Area Food Bank released their Hunger report for 2023 and the numbers are still high.

WASHINGTON — Residents across the DMV continue to struggle with food insecurity. 

Capital Area Food Bank released their latest Hunger report for 2023. The report shows the number of people struggling to find consistent meals is still high and rising. Between May 2022 and April 2023, 32% of residents did not know where their next meal was going to come from. Officials say this is for a variety of reasons including inflation, impacts from the pandemic, and government pandemic-response programs that came to an end earlier this year. 

The USDA defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active and healthy life.”

RELATED: WUSA9 kickstarts food insecurity relief initiative | Giving Matters

According to Capital Food Ban, over 1.2 million people living in the DMV still struggle to access enough to eat. 

“While signs of improvement seem to be everywhere in our economy over the past twelve months, there’s a far different story unfolding for over a million of our neighbors,” said Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank.

In the most recent Hunger report, it showed that adults with children in food insecure households went without food on a consistent basis, but the children did not. Which suggests that adults are going hungry to be able to feed their kids first. 

According to the report, nearly half of the region’s food-insecure population is experiencing at least one diet-related health condition including diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension, or obesity. 

RELATED: DMV Hunger: Over 3,200 pounds of food donated in Maryland food drive

It’s important to note that nearly 45% of residents in Prince George’s County currently face food insecurity. In February of 2023, Maryland ended its COVID-19 Emergency allotments. This reduced benefit amounts by nearly $95 per person. Currently, 80% of food insecure residents say the rising cost of groceries have impacted their finances in a significant way. 

In addition to scaling down SNAP benefits, Maryland also reinstated their “Able-Body Adults without Dependents” clause. This clause requires all residents that apply for SNAP benefits to work a minimum of 20 hours per week if they do not have a dependent. However over 60,000 people living in Maryland are currently without a job. The number of people facing unemployment in the U.S. skyrocketed in the month of August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

That is why WUSA9 started our ‘Giving Matters’ initiative. It’s to help combat the food insecurity currently happening in our area. WUSA9 holds multiple food drives throughout the year, partnering with local food distributors to collect food.