Texas is second-hungriest state in nation, USDA says

Oct 30, 2023 | by The Dallas Morning News

Dallas resident Ricardo Rodriguez waited for a DART bus Friday with a cart of produce, meat and canned goods from CitySqare’s food pantry, a service he’s used twice a month for four years to put food on his table.

“I eat most days,” said Rodriguez, who must ride the DART with his food to South Oak Cliff. “I don’t have a car so sometimes I have to carry it all by myself. When I do, I don’t get as much.”

Rodriguez lives in the second-most food-insecure state in the nation behind Arkansas, according to an October report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that averaged prevalence rates from 2020 through 2022.

During the three-year survey period, an average of 15.5% of households in Texas reported they lacked consistent access to affordable and healthy food, a 2.4% increase from 2017-2019.

And the North Texas Food Bank reports that Dallas County has the 4th highest number of food-insecure children in the nation.

The financial impact from the pandemic and inflation have strained households tremendously, said Paul McFarland, Area Commander of the Salvation Army of North Texas. That’s pushing more families to using food pantry services to offset rising costs.

Food insecure households are often forced to eat cheaper but less healthy meals – or skip meals altogether. And food access issues are made worse by racial disparities in food security prevalent across North Texas.

Read the full story in the Dallas Morning News.

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