In the land of endless sunshine and swaying palm trees, there exists a pressing issue often overlooked: the struggle to afford healthy food. While often associated with lower-income households, a recent study from No Kid Hungry Florida reveals a different narrative. As the cost of living soars, even middle-income families face adversity in securing nutritious meals.

According to our recent study, a staggering 72% of Floridians report finding it more difficult to afford groceries compared to just a year ago. This burden isn’t limited to lower-income households; 60% of middle-income families, earning between $50,000 to $99,000, are also feeling the pinch. Amidst a growing affordability crisis, putting nutritious meals on the table has become a daunting task for many.

The impact of this financial strain is palpable, with more than a third of respondents having faced food insecurity in the past year. This is a staggering percentage of Floridians who are skipping meals entirely or not eating enough nutritious food because they can’t afford to buy enough groceries for their families.

In an effort to make ends meet,  many families are resorting to shopping at multiple locations to find the best deals (58%), traveling to less convenient grocery stores (46%), and buying less or passing up entirely on more nutritious options like proteins (45%) and fresh produce (40%). Many find themselves stretched thin, grappling with difficult decisions about allocating limited resources, a struggle that extends beyond the grocery store checkout line, impacting families’ ability to prioritize other essential expenses like saving for retirement or their children’s education. It’s a precarious balancing act that leaves little room for financial security or peace of mind.

Amidst this crisis, school meal programs emerge as a beacon of hope, as one teacher’s firsthand experience highlights “I am a teacher, and I have had several experiences where my students don’t eat if they don’t come to school”. The importance of these programs cannot be overstated, especially considering the profound impact of childhood hunger on academic performance, behavior, and overall health. As a retired educator aptly puts it, “Children who are not fed cannot learn. We must meet their most basic needs before we can expect anything else.”

Fortunately, at No Kid Hungry, we recognize that hunger is a problem we can solve together. With our collective efforts, we can make significant strides in ending childhood hunger. By expanding access to school and summer meals and grocery benefits like SNAP and WIC, we can ensure kids have the nutrition they need to thrive in the classroom and beyond. 

Floridians want action. An overwhelming 92% of respondents believe elected officials should do more to end childhood hunger, emphasizing that this should be a shared, bipartisan goal. This underscores the need for united, bipartisan commitment to this cause at all levels of government.

Together we have the power to make a real difference in the lives of children across Florida. Join us in this vital mission to create a future where no child goes hungry