Hunger in Westchester County
The most current information about hunger in Westchester County comes largely from a comprehensive study conducted
by Feeding America in 2009 and published in Hunger in America 2010. The Food Bank for Westchester participated in this study, as did food banks around the country.
Here is an adaptation of the report prepared by Feeding America for the Food Bank for Westchester about hunger in Westchester County:
Highlights of Findings
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Food Bank for Westchester, Inc. The information is drawn from a national study Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America’s Second Harvest), the nation’s largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the Feeding America national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the Feeding America network. Emergency food programs are defined to include food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters serving short-term residents. It should be recognized that many other types of providers served by food banks are, for the most part, not described in this study, including such programs as congregate meals for seniors, day care facilities, and after school programs.
Here are the key findings:
How Many Clients Receive Emergency Food From the Food Bank for Westchester, Inc?
- The Feeding America survey indicated that by The Food Bank for Westchester provides emergency food for an estimated 81,400 different people annually. Based on our own surveys and reports from our 230 member agencies around the county, the Food Bank for Westchester believes the actual number is much higher. The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that around 200,000 Westchester County residents -- about 1 in 5 in the population -- are hungry or at risk of hunger. Half of them seek emergency food regularly. The other half seek it sporadically.
- About 14,800 different people receive emergency food assistance in any given week.
Who Receives Emergency Food Assistance?
The 230 member hunger-relief agencies/programs served by the Food Bank for Westchester provide food for a broad cross-section of households. Key characteristics include:
- 33% of the members of households served by the Food Bank for Westchester are children under 18 years old
- 8% are children age 0 to 5 years
- 58% are female
- 51% are seniors whose fixed incomes cannot keep pace with rising costs
- About 19% of clients are non-Hispanic white, 37% are non-Hispanic black, 43% are Hispanic, and the rest are from other racial groups
- 68% are US citizens
- 41% of households include at least one employed adult
- 66% have incomes below the federal poverty level during the previous month
- 1% are homeless
Many Clients are Food Insecure with Low or Very Low Food Security
- Among all client households served by emergency food programs of the Food Bank for Westchester, 79% are food insecure, according to the U.S. Government’s official food security scale. This includes client households who have low food security and those who have very low food security
- 33% of the clients have very low food security
- Among households with children, 77% are food insecure and 33% are food insecure with very low food security
Do Clients Also Receive Food Assistance from the Government?
- 31% of client households served by The Food Bank for Westchester are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); however, it is likely that many more are eligible
- Among households with children ages 0-3 years, 59% participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Among households with school-age children, 46% and 39%, respectively, participate in the federal school lunch and school breakfast programs
- Among households with school-age children, 8% participate in the summer food program
Many Clients are in Poor Health
- 23% of households served by The Food Bank for Westchester report having at least one household member in poor health
Most Clients are Satisfied with the Services they Receive from the Agencies of the Food Bank for Westchester
- 92% of adult clients said they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the amount of food they received from their provider; 96% were satisfied with the quality of the food they received