MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hundreds of thousands of South Floridians don’t know where they will receive their next meal, according to a new study.
Feeding South Florida reports 821,920 South Floridians struggle with food insecurity daily, which is 15.4 percent of South Florida’s population.
The study also found 287,650 South Florida children got to bed hungry, which is 23.6 percent of the children in South Florida.
The cost of living has also increased, according to the study. This means those who already struggle to put food on the table have larger bills to pay and less money going towards food.
All this while South Floridians are having to dish out an average of $3.09 per meal.
The report also broke down the statistics by county.
Miami-Dade has the highest percentage of food insecure children coming in at 26 percent of the county’s population.
Monroe County has the highest price per meal for food costing residents an average of $3.61 each meal.
Broward County has the highest percentage of food insecure individuals with 15.6 percent of the county’s population struggling to put food on the table.
Palm Beach county has the highest percentage (35%) of people who struggle with food insecurity but don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs.
A group of people stand in line at a food pantry in Hallandale Beach and then come out with a bag full of free food. It’s something most of the people in a bad position aren’t proud of…the majority of the people CBS4 saw shyed away from the cameras.
Ulises paz said without the help, a lot of of them would starve.
A worker for Feeding South Florida said it’s only getting worse.
“With the decrease in snap benefits, loss of jobs and increased cost of living the food budget shortfall for families is falling because they are relying on our assistance more and more,” said Sari Vatske.
Vatske works for the group which is one of South Florida’s largest food distribution centers where soup kitchens and food pantries like the one Paz goes to get a lot of the food they hand out.
“We rescue produce from farmers, grocers, retail stores and anywhere there is additional produce to be donated,” said Vatske.
Vatske says they are only able to provide about 25% of the meals needed throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
More food, more money and more volunteers are needed to sort, package, transport and distribute the food.
Click here for more information on the study.