Disparities in food insecurity increased in Connecticut last year, according to a survey conducted by Connecticut Foodshare.
"Disparities existed before the pandemic and the fact that they got worse should be concerning for folks," said Katie Martin, who leads the Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions at Connecticut Foodshare.
CT Foodshare surveyed more than 1,000 Connecticut residents to measure their access to food one year after the pandemic started. Results showed an increase in food insecurity among households with children- jumping from 41% before the pandemic to 44% since Covid-19.
According to CT Foodshare, the survey also showed greater food insecurity amongst communities of color. Forty percent of people of color in the state were food insecure compared to 24% of white residents, CT Foodshare reports.
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"In every corner of our state, there are people who struggle with food insecurity and often it is particular groups of people who are most at risk. Female headed households and people of color have a more challenging time being able to afford and access healthy food," said Martin.
Data from CT Foodshare's survey is consistent with data from the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA estimates that levels of food insecurity remained steady from 2019 to 2020, but disparities in food insecurity increased on the national level as well.
According to their September report, the USDA estimates that food insecurity amongst households with children increased from 13.6% in 2019 to 14.8% in 2020. For Black households, the rates were even higher - from 19.1% in 2019 to 21.7% in 2020.
“The latest USDA data reinforces what Connecticut Foodshare sees each and every day across the state,” said Martin.
Martin said that CT Foodshare uses the data to inform their work.
“More can be done to meet this need with the continuation of funding for federal and state assistance and a targeted expansion of food programs to our most vulnerable neighbors," Martin wrote in a press release. "All food pantry and meal programs can take steps to expand outreach, reduce the stigma of seeking help, create a welcoming environment for all visitors, and promote personal dignity and empowerment in their pantries.”