Food insecurity, or the inability to afford adequate food, is a real issue in the United States. A 2014 study conducted by Feeding America indicated that one in seven people in America turn to the network of food banks to get help providing for their families. The Feeding America network serves 46.5 million people each year, including 12 million children and 7 million senior citizens.
The story in Oklahoma is largely the same. A 2013 Gallup report indicated that 21.2 percent of people in Oklahoma reported at least one time in the past 12 months that they were not able to afford food. Many of these families are not unemployed, but are a part of the working poor population.
The Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan for 2020 states that 16.8 percent of Oklahomans earned income that is below the poverty level, compared to the national average of 15.8 percent. The poverty rate for children under 18 is 24 percent and the state’s median household income of $45,690 is 14.6 percent lower than the national average. One in six Oklahoma families lives on less than $24,000 per year for a family of four.
Oklahomans, and Americans need affordable food choices.