Oklahoma’s food insecurity rate remains higher than the national average.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, October 27, 2023 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its 2022 Household Food Security in the United States report this week. The USDA report shows a national increase in food insecurity rates, and state-level data reports Oklahoma’s food insecurity rate is higher than the national average. Due to the implementation of additional food and nutrition program flexibilities in response to the pandemic, Oklahoma’s food insecurity rate seems to improve in terms of three-year averages (2017-2019 compared to 2020-2022).
But that is not the whole story according to Hunger Free Oklahoma leadership. “If you look at the national food security trends and the year by year fluctuations, rather than three-year averages, the data tells a different story: The pandemic caused a spike in food insecurity, but it was quickly and effectively addressed with the multipronged approach of the federal government, which included expanded Medicaid eligibility, maximum allotments for all SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants, implementation of the Child Tax Credit, Pandemic EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), and more. Nearly all of those responses have ended over the last 12 months while inflation and housing costs are at record levels, which has resulted in the steepest increase in food insecurity since the housing bubble burst in 2009,” said Chris Bernard, HFO’s President and CEO.
“This report shows that we found profoundly effective solutions to food insecurity, but instead of making them permanent, we let millions of Americans and thousands of Oklahomans fall back into poverty. Our elected officials should be shocked by this report and should be working to permanently reinstate the proven solutions.”
Hunger Free Oklahoma leverages the power of collaboration to solve hunger in Oklahoma by improving systems, policies, and practices. Learn more at HungerFreeOK.org. Oklahomans can find assistance with SNAP applications by contacting Hunger Free Oklahoma’s SNAP Hotline at 1 (877) 760-0114. Our trained SNAP specialists are available to assist. Current SNAP recipients can stretch their SNAP dollars by taking advantage of Double Up Oklahoma. Learn more at DoubleUpOklahoma.org.