About 400,000 Nevadans, including one in five children, are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from, according to the nonprofit “Feeding America.” September is Hunger Action Month, so starting Friday, Nevada food banks are hosting events to raise awareness.
Jocelyn Lantrip, director of marketing for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, said it will serve dinner and open the warehouse for tours on Sept. 7, Hunger Action Day. Lantrip said the recession is not over for the 95,000 people they serve every month.
“The variable in many people’s budget is their food,” she said, “so they buy less food and, therefore, they eat less and they’re not getting their nutritional needs met. It’s a significant issue for a lot of children and seniors.”
More than half of Nevada children qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, and childhood hunger rates are higher than the national average. The Food Bank also is part of the seventh annual “Run on Tuna,” with a goal of rounding up at least 10,000 donated cans of tuna fish.
The organization is teaming up with Three Square in Las Vegas for the SNAP Experience, which starts Sept. 14 and runs for a week. Lantrip said participants are challenged to feed themselves with only $4 a day – the average benefit for the SNAP program, which used to be known as food stamps.
“We’re trying to raise awareness about what the struggle is for 440,000 Nevadans who rely on SNAP already,” she said, “you know, how difficult it is to eat healthy on a budget that small.”
Lantrip said 66 percent of the SNAP participants in Nevada are families with children.
More information about the events is online at snapexperiencenv.org or fbnn.org.
By Suzanne Potter
Public News Service – NV