LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - COVID-19 has produced record-high food insecurity in Southern Nevada, according to an annual study released by Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Three Square released the annual Map the Meal Gap study, which details record high rates of food insecurity experienced by community members in Southern Nevada.
More than 447,000 Southern Nevadans, around one in three children, will experience food insecurity this year, the study found.
“Southern Nevada is ground zero for the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19,” Three Square CEO Brian Burton said in a statement. “The vital and life-giving role of our mission is now on full display, as millions of newly unemployed people turn to our nation’s food banks for life’s most basic essential: food. Though we are facing a food insecurity crisis unlike anything we have ever seen, Three Square remains committed to distributing food during this difficult time and serving as a positive force for the people who rely on us most.”
The 2020 Feeding America Map the Meal Gap results reveal a significant increase in food insecurity across Southern Nevada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of COVID-19, the food insecurity rate was estimated to remain at 12.9 percent, or one in eight individuals.
The impact of COVID-19 on unemployment will increase these numbers to 20.5 percent, equivalent to one in five individuals – or approximately 447,820 people – experiencing food insecurity.
Prior to the pandemic, the child food insecurity rate was estimated to be 19.5 percent, equivalent to one in five children. Due to COVID-19, that rate will increase to 33.4 percent, the equivalent of one in three or approximately 171,510 children, in Southern Nevada that are living in a food-insecure household.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as limited or uncertain access to enough food to live an active, healthy life.