The United States Department of Agriculture released its latest report concerning food security status for American households on Wednesday.
The numbers are a nightmare, according to a statement sent to The Daily Caller by Share Our Strength, a childhood hunger advocacy group.
The USDA’s report, entitled “Food Security Status of U.S. Households in 2014,” shows that 86 percent of U.S. households were food secure for the duration of last year. (That’s 106.6 million households in total.)
The percentage is up very slightly up 85.7 percent in 2013. (RELATED: Gallup: Americans Still Fat)
The USDA defines the term “food secure” as having “access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”
In its statement, Share Our Strength focuses on the 14 percent of America’s household which the federal government defines as “food insecure.”
The term “food insecure” means that members of the households that “were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.”
Just over 48 million Americans live in food-insecure households, according to USDA statistics. That number includes 7.9 million children. About 900,000 American children hove in households with food security which the USDA rates as “very low.”
Not very surprisingly, Share Our Strength observes, a lack of food security corresponds strongly with poverty. Households with incomes 185 percent below the poverty line suffer most from a lack of food. (The federal government’s poverty line for a family of four was $24,008 in 2014.)
Single parents also tend to be less likely to provide food security for their children.
By race and ethnicity, food scarcity affects black and Hispanic individuals at the highest rates.
Save Our Strength laments the fact that about 40 percent of households which the government deems as “food insecure” say they manage to endure with no help from federal welfare programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) or free school lunches.
“Childhood hunger is a crisis in this nation, but it is a crisis with a solution,” Save Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore said in the press release.
Shore believes the solution is more federal money. He lauded welfare programs, especially programs providing free lunches and breakfasts at public schools. (RELATED: Michelle Obama ‘Confident’ Kids Will ‘Eventually’ Be Brainwashed Into Liking Crappy School Lunches)
Shore also urged federal lawmakers to reauthorize and expand legislation providing the federal cash supporting these programs.
“Marshalling our collective resolve, we can make this a nation where children the basic nutrition they need to grow up smart, healthy and strong,” he said. “And a stronger generation of children means a stronger America.”
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, the bald guy who eats and criticizes a series of gourmet food on Top Chef, also weighed in — with an allusion to Donald Trump.
“Every time our national leaders talk about improving education, they should talk about solving hunger,” Colicchio said. “Every time they talk about health care, they should talk about ending hunger in America. Want to make America a great nation again? End hunger.”
States with the highest rates of food insecurity include Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
States with the lowest rates of food insecurity include Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Virginia.
Share Our Strength was established in 1984 in response to the famine at the time in Ethiopia. The primary causes of the Ethiopia famine were a severe local drought compounded by serious economic deterioration caused by two decades of war.