Feeding San Diego Struggles to Keep Up with Demand As Hunger Rises Sharply Across U.S.

Photo courtesy Feeding San Diego

The number of people living in food insecure households in 2022 increased to 44 million, including 13 million children, according to a new federal report. 

This is an increase of nearly 31% for all individuals across the country, and 44% for children from the previous year. They are the highest rates since 2014 and the largest one-year increase in food insecurity since 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

“As we’ve worked tirelessly to try to end hunger, this unfortunate increase comes as no surprise,” said Bob Kamensky, interim chief executive officer of Feeding San Diego. “As pandemic-era programs have ended amidst record inflation, it’s all added up to get us to where we are today.

“While the USDA has been working to help,” he continued, “it has not been enough for the hundreds of Feeding America partner food banks across the country working daily to support families in bringing meals home.”

Since the official end of the pandemic earlier this year, Feeding San Diego has been working to address the continued demand for its services in a time when donations have plunged and food and transportation costs have jumped.

Emergency drive-through food distributions that had supported thousands of families had to be cut as the organization moved back to its agency model, delivering food to nearly 350 partners throughout the county while also operating direct service distributions.

With a smaller budget, the amount of food that can be handed out has been impacted. All this has been happening in tandem with what the USDA report has proven – that more people are experiencing food insecurity.

According to the USDA report, food insecurity in the U.S.: 

  • Among single mothers was up nearly 34%, an increase over 2021.
  • Among households receiving SNAP benefits also was up, with nearly 47% reporting that they experienced it. 
  • Increased for Black, white, and Latino individuals. Though White individuals saw a 43% increase in food insecurity, rates continue to be higher for people of color.
  • Black individuals were nearly 2.4 times more likely to face hunger than white individuals, while Latino individuals were 2.2 times more likely to face hunger than white individuals.