Fast Facts

Who are the hungry on Long Island? Take a look at these Hunger Facts put together by Long Island Cares. Then, join the fight against hunger in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY, and make a difference in the lives of thousands of your neighbors.

According to the national study, Hunger in America 2010:

  • Approximately 283,700 people on Long Island receive emergency food each year – that’s 64,900 people every week.
  • 74 percent of the Long Island households served by emergency food programs such as those of Long Island Cares are food insecure, according to the U.S. government’s official food security scale.
  • 39 percent of Long Islanders who receive emergency food are children under 18 years old. While children are among the largest single population of hungry, they have virtually no voice; their needs are easily dismissed and overlooked, and they must rely on others to access the feeding programs and services they need.
  • Children who are hungry are more likely than their peers to experience behavioral issues, reduced ability to learn social skills and impaired cognitive learning – even permanent brain damage. Find out more about Children’s Nutrition programs available through Long Island Cares.
  • Approximately 70 percent of those who are hungry on Long Island are from minority populations who face education, language and employment barriers.
  • Nearly half – 48 percent – receiving emergency food assistance are the “working poor”: households that include at least one employed adult. Of these, 63% have monthly incomes below the federal poverty level. Nearly half report having to choose between paying the rent or utilities and paying for food.
  • The effects of hunger on the working poor range from lack of stamina and increased illness – which increases missed work time – to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • The elderly make up 4 percent of Long Island’s hungry. Seniors are among the hungry for many reasons, including not having enough income to afford nutritious food, suffering from depression and loneliness or experiencing the side effects from multiple medications, which can decrease the desire to eat. Many are too proud to request help.
  • Seniors who are hungry experience depression and anxiety.  They are also at increased risk for illness, disease, and even premature death.
  • About 6 percent of Long Islanders receiving food assistance are homeless and are made up of individuals who are the victims of abuse or have been forced out of closed institutions.
  • Many of these individuals are also mentally, physically, emotionally or socially disabled and face limited employment opportunities, additional barriers and/or may have difficulty feeding themselves.
  • Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 69% of the food distributed by pantries, 39% of the food distributed by kitchens and 45% of the food distributed by shelters.

For more facts about hunger on Long Island, read the full report. If you are experiencing hunger or food insecurity, get to know more about Long Island Cares’ programs. Want to help? Find out how you can help Long Island Cares in our fight against hunger and make a difference in the lives of your neighbors.

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