Thousands in Mahoning Valley classified as "food insecure" - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Thousands in Mahoning Valley classified as "food insecure"

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - According to the nation's largest hunger relief organization, Feeding America, 16% of our local population is food insecure.

That means they don't know where their next meal will come from.

The research is based on stats from the census bureau and food price data.

Mike Iberis from the Second Harvest Food Bank says our area is right around the national average for food need.

"Last year we distributed 9,000,000 pounds of food throughout of service are through our pantries and soup kitchens this year we will distribute at least that much and we are striving to increase that," says Iberis

There are many reasons for food insecurity. But the main one is unemployment or underemployment.

"We've found that most people are just losing their jobs or being relegated to part time work instead of full time work which means their family income is reduced. There are many people that have incurred illnesses either themselves or someone in their family so that's taking up a lot of resources," says Iberis.

The food insecurity study helps analyze each county's food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance.

Second Harvest provides food for 153 hunger relief organizations in our area like food pantries and shelters.

Each week they get over 15,000 requests for food assistance.

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