Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey show that hundreds of thousands of Maryland families say their kids sometimes do not eat enough due to high costs of groceries, according to an analysis from a Maryland-based hunger relief non-profit.
The Maryland Food Bank has been analyzing survey data from the Household Pulse Survey to track the level of food insecurity many Marylanders are facing, and the most recent analysis of June data shows that a higher percentage of families have struggled with feeding their children enough food than in previous months.
According to the organization’s June data analysis, at least 313,952 families responding to the Household Pulse Survey said that their children sometimes or often were not eating enough because their families couldn’t afford enough food.
That’s 45% out of 698,825 families who responded to the survey question asking how frequently children did not eat enough due to the high cost of food, according to the food bank.
An additional 283,740 people surveyed did not respond to the question.
Of families that responded to the question, 7% reported that their children “often” did not have enough food due to high grocery costs, while 38% reported that they “sometimes” did not have enough food, according to the analysis.
The remaining 55% of families surveyed reported that their children “never” experienced a situation where there children were not eating enough due to food affordability.
On a national level, there were 40 million families who responded to the question of how frequently their children did not eat enough because of food costs. Of that 40 million who responded nationwide, 27% of families reported that the high cost of groceries led to their kids not eating enough sometimes or often.
Several factors are at play that lead to more families facing food insecurity, according to the Maryland Food Bank’s CEO and president, Carmen Del Guercio.
“Marylanders are struggling to make ends meet this summer due to a combination of factors, including high grocery costs, the reduction in SNAP benefits, and with kids out of school, a lack of access to free or reduced-price meals,” he said in a written statement. “With limited financial resources, they are often left with no option but to skip meals or choose cheaper, less healthy foods, compromising their well-being.”
The reduction in SNAP benefits refers to a COVID-era federal policy which allowed people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to receive additional support throughout the COVID pandemic.
But those increased SNAP funds, along with other financial assistance programs, are no longer available as the Biden Administration has ended policies that supported low-income families during the global health crisis.
Meanwhile, data from the Maryland Food Bank and other non-profits show that the cost of food and basic necessities remain unaffordable for many families in Maryland.