Release

RELEASE: New National Poll: Parents Surveyed with Middle Incomes Among Those Struggling to Feed Families

“Watch What Three Meals Can Do” Campaign to Spread Awareness of Food as Fuel for Kids’ Potential

[Media: For photos and assets, click HERE]

Contact: Allison deBrauwere, adebrauwere@strength.org

Washington, D.C. – A staggering number of parents are facing challenges providing meals for their children as costs soar due to the rise in food prices, according to new survey findings released today by No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

Among 3,000 parents of public-school children who responded to a survey conducted by Ipsos, 58% of middle-income and 68% of lower-income families reported it had become harder to afford enough food for their children over the last year. Ninety-three percent of parents with middle incomes and 87% of parents with lower incomes cited the rise in food prices as the reason for this struggle.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices rose 9.5% in February 2023 compared to February 2022. Although families with lower incomes have been hit hardest by rising food prices, food insecurity has become a pressing issue affecting more families with middle incomes across America. No Kid Hungry’s survey sheds light on the extent of this problem:

  • Families with middle incomes who were surveyed are skipping meals to feed their children. 
    • One in 5 families with middle income reported that they or their children have skipped a meal in the last year due to rising food prices. 
    • Fifty-eight percent of parents with middle incomes reported it has become harder to afford food for their children, and of those, 95% reported struggling to afford enough food for their children at least monthly.
  • Families with lower incomes who were surveyed have been hit the hardest.
    • Sixty-eight percent of parents with lower incomes reported that it has become more difficult to afford food in the past year. 
    • Seventy-four percent reported that, in addition to the cost of food itself, the rising costs of other necessities, such as utilities, gas, rent, and clothes contributed to the difficulty of affording enough food. 
  • Many parents surveyed are an unexpected expense away from being able to afford enough food for their children.
    • Two in five families with lower incomes say an unexpected car repair or medical bill made it harder to afford enough food for their children. Among families with middle incomes, 50% reported the same.
  • Surveyed parents are noticing a negative impact on their children’s well-being.
    • Forty-one percent of parents with lower incomes and 45% of middle-income parents noticed a negative change in their children’s mental health as a result of not having enough to eat.
    • Parents also reported noticing negative changes in their children’s physical health. This was true for 41% of parents with middle incomes and 35% of parents with lower incomes.
  • The struggle to provide three nutritious meals a day for their children is also taking a toll on surveyed parents’ mental health and well-being.
    • Eighty-four percent of parents with lower incomes and 79% of parents with middle incomes said that when it comes to ensuring their children are eating three nutritious meals each day, at least one meal causes them stress and worry – for one in three that meal is dinner.
    • Further, 63% of parents with lower incomes and 61% of parents with middle incomes who have struggled to provide food in the last year reported a negative change in their mental health due to not having enough to eat.

“Families in America are hurting – all of us have a neighbor, a family member or friend who is living under the constant stress of being able to feed their children,” said Diana Hovey, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry Campaign. No parent should have to make impossible decisions like skipping a meal so their children can eat or live an unexpected car repair away from being able to afford groceries. It doesn’t have to be this way, which is why we’re working to strengthen and expand nutrition programs that ensure every child in America has access to three meals a day”.

As families navigated the stress of providing meals for their children, the survey revealed that many participated in a food assistance program for the first time. This was the case for 62% of families with lower incomes and 45% for families with middle incomes.

“It kept me at ease that at least my kids are eating properly, as inflation rises it is getting harder for me to keep up”, expressed a middle-income father.

An in-depth look at the survey’s key findings can be viewed HERE.

No Kid Hungry works to ensure every child in the U.S. gets three meals a day, by improving access to federal nutrition programs, providing grants to schools and community organizations to connect kids with the healthy food they need to thrive and advocating for better laws and policies.

This spring, No Kid Hungry and its partners are working to raise awareness about the importance that all kids get three nutritious meals a day to reach their full potential. Through a combination of video storytelling and social content, the “Watch What Three Meals Can Do” digital-first campaign highlights what kids can accomplish when they have the nourishment they need.

To learn more and join in, visit nokidhungry.org/brandsthatgive and follow #3MealsADay on social. The “Watch What Three Meals Can Do” campaign is made possible by the support of partners like Arby’s Foundation, Kellogg’s, Marco’s Pizza, Chili’s®️ Grill, Athletic Greens and more.

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