How Many Kids in America Go to Bed Hungry?

 

Most people understand that there are hungry kids in America. But how many?

At No Kid Hungry, we say that 1 in 7 kids lives with hunger. That’s our way of letting people know what USDA research tells us: 11 million children in our country are living in “food insecure” homes.

Let’s be very clear, because this is important. A child facing food insecurity might not actually be missing meals. Many are. But for others, maybe their mom is skipping dinners to ensure they don’t have to. Maybe someone got sick or lost their job and the family simply doesn’t know if they’ll have enough to feed the kids.

All of these children are living with hunger.

“In the beginning of the paycheck, it’s like the whole fridge is stocked with food,” said Mario, a 13-year-old from a working-class family in Maryland. “But towards the end of the pay period it starts to look desolate, like there’s nothing in there, except for ketchup, mayonnaise, a couple eggs in the carton.”

“I would say at least half -- if not over half -- of students at this school go home and they may not have anything to eat; maybe a bag of chips,” said Vicki Chafin, who works in the cafeteria at a low-income elementary school in Virginia. “They don't have fresh fruits, they don't have fresh vegetables, milk. They may not have anything like that. It's terrible, but it's reality.”

This number has dropped - slowly but surely - over the past few years. We are making progress. But we have further to go. No child in America should be in danger of going to bed hungry.