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Georgia fails its residents as the state has among the highest rates of children in the country who are food insecure, data shows

Georgia – The negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic just worsened the financial situation for many Georgia residents. The inflation and skyrocketing prices are just chill reminders of what our society went through—a high price the majority still pays today. Despite numerous state and federal programs, millions of people still struggle to meet their ends every month. Food insecurity has become a major problem nationwide, but in Georgia, things are much worse compared to the national average.

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Data from recent study shows that from 2020 to 2022, around 1.4 million people in Georgia didn’t have enough food. This includes a large number of children – as the state of Georgia is one of the top states in the U.S. for children who were food insecure in this period.

The group Hunger Free America analyzed the data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They found that 13.2% of people in Georgia are struggling with hunger. This issue affects 20% of children (that’s about 499,230 kids), 9.6% of working adults (472,666 people), and 8.6% of seniors (189,863 people).

The report points out that stopping extra help like the bigger Child Tax Credit and free meals at schools has made the problem even worse. Hunger Free America’s latest report, called “Hunger is Political Choice,” provides more insight on these findings.

“Our report demonstrates child and adult hunger are serious problems in rural, urban, and suburban areas of all 50 states,” Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, said in a release. “This report should be a jarring wake-up call for federal, state, and local leaders.”

Programs in Georgia don’t work as expected, high nonparticipation rate  

Hunger Free America reports that in 2018, 16% of people in Georgia who were eligible to get help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) weren’t receiving the benefits at all. The situation was even worse with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in 2021. According to the data, 60% of those who were eligible to receive WIC benefits didn’t receive them. WIC had the highest nonparticipation rate.

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In schools, there’s a similar problem with breakfast. During the 2021-2022 school year, 42% of kids in Georgia who were getting lunch at school didn’t get school breakfast.

In comparison, 15.3% of people in South Carolina were food insecure.

Georgia has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in children as programs in Georgia have very high nonparticipation rate

The Georgia Center for Opportunity recently looked into how to fix problems in programs like SNAP. They found that the way the federal food stamp program is set up doesn’t help people improve their financial situation. Instead, it keeps them dependent on government aid.

Calliope Hargrave

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