A recent report released by the Food Research and Action Center, a national anti-hunger organization, shows an increase in the number of people experiencing food insecurity – both nationally and in the state.
James Goddard, Director of The Economic Justice and Health-Care Access Programs at Nebraska Appleseed, says this data was obtained in a nationwide phone survey. One of the questions was, “In the past year, have you struggled to put food on the table, or did you not know where you next meal was coming from.” He says 12.8% of Nebraska households without children and 16.2% with children said yes to that question.
Goddard says there are policy changes the State could make to help struggling Nebraskans, starting with raising the minimum wage.
“Although the U.S. economy is doing really well, and unemployment in Nebraska is really low, we know that people are still struggling. And what that tells me is wages are not increasing and families are simply not earning enough money to pay for housing and health care and then food on top of it. We really need to work on increasing wages in our state, making sure people have access to benefits like leave, and making sure everybody has health care, which is a huge expense for families, and thousands of people in our state still don’t have health care.”
Additionally, Goddard says 1 in 11 Nebraskans rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – what many people think of as food stamps. Nebraska Appleseed is keeping a close eye on the Farm Bill currently being debated in Congress, since it includes funding levels for SNAP.
For more information, the website is Neappleseed.org