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"Food Insecurity" Over 30 Percent in Some Chicago Neighborhoods

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 21, 2011 4:30PM

2011_9_21GFCDLogo.jpg This morning, the Greater Chicago Food Depository released its latest numbers on food insecurity and hunger in Chicago. The numbers are broken down by neighborhood, and some of them are downright scary.

The Food Depository defines "food insecurity" as "reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet," or, put simply, "unsure where they will find their next meal." Overall, Chicago has a 20.6 percent rate of food insecurity. That means 581,558 people are food insecure, a fairly terrifying number. Even worse, 36% of those who are food insecure are thus not eligible for federal nutrition programs because of their income - suggesting that the income cap for those programs may be too low.

The food insecurity numbers are broken down by neighborhood. Here are some of the highlights:

Burnside - 28.8 percent
East Garfield Park - 29.9 percent
Englewood - 31.2 percent
North Lawndale - 31.2 percent
Forest Glen - 7.8 percent
Lincoln Park - 10.2 percent
Lakeview - 9.7 percent

The complete data set is here.

The Food Depository plans to use this data to improve its hunger-fighting efforts in Chicago. They distributed 69 million pounds of food last year. This year, the focus is on increasing the amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables distributed, with a goal of 20 million pounds. If you want to help, donate or volunteer.