MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Hunger-relief advocates are sounding the alarm after the release of a new study that paints a grim picture about food insecurity in Kentucky.
The study, conducted by the organization Feeding America, shows that at 18.6%, Kentucky has the highest rate in the nation of food insecurity among adults ages 50 to 59. This suggests that many low-income, older Kentuckians do not have access to consistent, nutritious meals.
“Part of the reason this is so alarming is because these are the people who are soon going to be looking for more help as they retire fully from the workforce,” said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of Feeding Kentucky. “They’re much more likely to suffer from diabetes. They’re much more likely to have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure. They’re more likely to suffer from depression.”
Sandberg told LEX 18 that only about a third of Kentucky’s older citizens who are eligible for the food assistance program SNAP are actually partaking in it. She said this is possibly due to a lack of awareness or a reluctance to ask for help.
Sandberg said the study shows food banks have to continue to work to close that gap.
“So if we don’t work to make sure that this population has enough food now, they’re going to have even more dire health consequences when they’re retired and completely out of the workforce,” she said.
You can read the full report here.