A new report from the University of Missouri found that 47% of food pantry clients had to choose between paying for food or utilities last year, while 38% had to decide between paying for food or medicine/medical care, and 34% had to choose between purchasing food or paying for housing. That’s according to Food Assistance & Hunger in the Heartland 2021: State Report for Missouri, which was conducted by the MU Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security. The report was prepared for Feeding Missouri and includes results obtained from six regional food banks which collectively distribute more than 120 million pounds of food each year.
The report also found that 70% of households that used food pantries in 2021 experienced food insecurity, resulting in 61% of households purchasing the least expensive food or 44% who consumed food past its expiration date. The data collected was completed during the spring and summer of 2021, a time when Covid-19 was an issue in the coverage area. Sixty-six percent of pantries reported serving more clients in 2021.