Texas is the second-most-insecure state in the US, meaning that the population of the state is among the ones that suffer hunger the most, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The US Department of Agriculture placed Texas among the top six with higher-than-average food insecurity rates between 2020 and 2022. While the national average for food insecurity during this period was 12.8%, Texas, along with Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, experienced even higher prevalence.
An average of 15.5% of households in Texas reported they lacked consistent access to affordable and healthy food, marking a 2.4% increase from 2017-2019.
Dallas County has the fourth-highest number of food-insecure children in the nation. Households with food insecurity are often forced to consume cheaper but less healthy meals, and in many cases, people skip meals due to financial constraints.
Racial disparities in food security are also an important factor. Black and Hispanic households face a disproportionate burden, with 22% of Black residents and 1 in 7 Hispanic residents experiencing food insecurity.
With food insecurity rates rising, organizations like the North Texas Food Bank and The Salvation Army play a crucial role in providing food assistance to those in need.
The North Texas Food Bank has experienced an unprecedented level of demand, providing over 144 million meals during the fiscal year between July 2022 and June this year. The food bank and its partners have witnessed over a 5% increase in the number of meals provided compared to the previous year.
Addressing the hunger crisis requires collective efforts, with organizations like The Salvation Army acquiring new distribution trucks to scale up food distribution. These initiatives aim to alleviate the impact of food insecurity and provide essential resources to affected communities.