Food insecurity has been further exacerbated by COVID-19 and has left many families worried about how to manage hunger without additional food programs. (Courtesy photo)
Food insecurity has been further exacerbated by COVID-19 and has left many families worried about how to manage hunger without additional food programs. (Courtesy photo)

A recent survey conducted by the Capital Area Food Bank documents rising food insecurity rates across the D.C. metropolitan area, disproportionately impacting Black and Hispanic families. 

The study, conducted in conjunction with the independent research institution NORC at the University of Chicago, details that roughly one-third of local area families are battling some degree of food insecurity, with rising numbers significantly correlated to family member size and levels of education influencing earning potential. 

“This research just validates what we’ve been seeing all year long. It’s disheartening in a few ways – not just the staggering number of individuals who are uncertain on how to plan for a meal over the course of a year,” said Radha Muthiah, CEO of Capital Area Food Bank. 

“It’s also disheartening because of the outlook, [which] for them, doesn’t look promising and the stressors that come with that as one tries to go about daily life,” Muthiah said.  

Muthiah, in an interview with DCist, emphasized that approximately 43% of African-American homes and 26% of Hispanic households within the Washington region suffer from food insecurity. 

Prince George’s County’s residents fare equally poor, ranking at a 48% level of food insecurity. This statistic baffles some researchers who note the county houses some of the most affluent Black professionals and families in the U.S. 

In response to county numbers, local agencies including the Prince George’s County Food Security Task Force, Food Equity Council (FEC) and the Public Health Innovation have completed a report drawing together strategies coupled with policy recommendations to expand food system resiliency and to create solid responses to food security challenges for residents. 

“The Food Security Task Force final report and recommendations set the table for addressing food insecurity in the county and its impact on our quality of life,” said Task Force Chair, Council Member Todd M. Turner (4th District). “It presents a strong foundation and best practices guide for the county, especially as we continue to address the additional impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.” 

In the quest for solutions beyond the county, District area organizations have doubled down on providing food bank access and other resources. In the second part of this series, the Informer will speak with various organizations that are tackling food insecurity to discuss best practices in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children and families throughout the city.

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