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Those are the findings of research released Friday by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. The findings result from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study, which provides estimates on the rate of food insecurity at the county and congressional district level for the entire nation. Food Bank for Larimer County is part of the Feeding America network.
“Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States due to the physical, mental damage and behavioral problems it may cause,´ said Dr. Craig Gundersen, associate professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group, and the lead researcher of the “Map the Meal Gap” study. “By ascertaining the extent and distribution of food insecurity at the county and congressional district level, we can better direct our resources to alleviating this serious problem.”
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The total number of food insecure people in Larimer County is about the same as last year.
“Because of the support of the Larimer County community, we are making healthy strides in closing the gap on hunger in our community,´ said Amy Pezzani, executive director of the Food Bank for Larimer County. “(But) this report is a reminder of the depth of food insecurity in our community. In 2011, we distributed enough food to provide 6.5 million meals to the community. … We will not rest until we are certain no one is hungry in Larimer County.”
The Food Bank for Larimer County provides approximately 8 million pounds of donated food and other products to the community each year.
Nationally, the food insecurity rate remained relatively unchanged from last year at 16.1 percent, or nearly 49 million people nationwide.