Hunger in Southwestern Wisconsin

For most of us, the face of hunger has come from images of malnourished children in developing countries. It can be very difficult to accept that thousands of our southwestern Wisconsin neighbors are food insecure. Yet these children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and working families aren't able to obtain nutritionally adequate and safe foods in socially acceptable ways to sustain active, healthy lives.

The partner food pantries, shelters, meal sites and other hunger-relief programs served by Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin report an increased year-round need for food assistance as community members struggle with unemployment and the loss of medical insurance, a shortage of affordable housing and high utility costs.


Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is one of 185 food banks that participated in the national Hunger in America 2010 study conducted for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

In southwestern Wisconsin, data was collected from 455 face-to-face interviews with clients served by emergency food assistance programs and surveys completed by 239 partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, in Second Harvest Foodbank's 16-county service area.


The study reports the Foodbank is serving 83 percent more people than in 2006. This means we now serve 140,600 individuals—43 percent of whom are children. That's 22,700 people receiving emergency assistance in any given week.

Below is a snapshot of hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. You can also download this special report:


Hunger in Southwestern Wisconsin 2010 (color)

Hunger in Southwestern Wisconsin 2010 (black & white)


Demographics of those we serve


Food security in southwestern Wisconsin


Many seeking help make difficult choices


Health status of those we serve


Why clients aren't applying for FoodShare Wisconsin (food stamps)


Eliminating Second Harvest Foodbank




With first-time Hunger in America study participation by all five Feeding America food banks serving Wisconsin residents, we’re able to share a comprehensive view of hunger across the state and the circumstances that drive our neighbors to seek food assistance.


Hunger in Wisconsin 2010 reports that the Feeding America food bank system in Wisconsin serves 573,800 individuals each year—37 percent of whom are children. That’s 83,700 people receiving emergency food assistance in any given week. Of all surveyed households, 70 percent are food insecure and unable to access adequate food to sustain health and strength.


Study data was collected from 965 in-person interviews with clients served by emergency food assistance programs and 1,044 surveys completed by partner agencies providing food assistance.


With need on the rise, Wisconsin’s Feeding America food banks, including Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, will continue to work together to provide more food to more families, children and seniors struggling with hunger.



 Statewide look at hunger


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