SUN VALLEY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) - Twice a month, Jennifer Gallaway of Sun Valley comes to the HOPE Church of Nazareth for extra help.
She said her fiancé is employed. She is working on a website and staying at home with four children. Still, they struggle to keep groceries on the table.
"We get the bare necessities and try to manage with that," Gallaway said. "Food-wise, we have to decide if we want stuff that will last, over what the kids want."
On this hot day, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada mobile pantry distributes fresh produce in addition to the church’s emergency food pantry.
"It helps because sometimes they give away milk, meat and eggs, and that helps a lot," said Gallaway.
Gallaway is one of the many faces of hunger in northern Nevada, and one of the faces behind the numbers in Feeding America's 2014 hunger report. The comprehensive study gives a better idea of what families are dealing with.
"People are really struggling," said Jocelyn Lantrip of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. "It seems like the economy is getting better in some respects, but the coping mechanisms that the families are using are really kind of shocking."
According to the report, of the more than 200,000 people seeking food assistance, more than half report choose between paying for food and things like utilities, rent, medical care and transportation.
This is also the first year Feeding America asked about veteran status. They found 30-percent of those households seeking food assistance include someone serving in the military or a veteran.
Key findings for Northern Nevada were sent out in a press release:WIDESPREAD USE OF FOOD ASSISTANCE
Food Bank of Northern Nevada serves 204,200 people annually.
CLIENTS STRUGGLING WITH HEALTH ISSUES
- 8 percent of adult clients are students.
- 30 percent of households include someone who is currently or has ever served in the military.
- 89 percent of clients live in permanent housing.
MAKING TOUGH CHOICES TO KEEP FOOD ON THE TABLE
- 85 percent of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.
- 68 percent of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
- 53 percent households have a member with high blood pressure.
- 46 percent households have medical bills to pay.
- 32 percent of households include a member with diabetes.
Following are the choices client households reported making in the past 12 months:
- 69 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities. 32 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
- 68 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care. 24 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
- 63 percent report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation. 24 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
- 58 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for housing. 30 percent of these households are making the choice every month.
More than 43 percent of households reported using three or more coping strategies for getting enough food in the past 12 months. The frequency of these strategies among all households include:
LOW WAGES, UNDEREMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT DRIVING NEED
- 85 percent report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food
- 56 percent report eating food past the expiration date
- 44 percent report receiving help from friends or family
- 44 percent report pawning or selling personal property
- 36 percent report watering down food or drinks
- 17 percent report growing food in a garden
- 14 percent of respondents have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.
- Among all households served by Food Bank of Northern Nevada agencies and programs, 55 percent have at least one member who has been employed in the past year.
- Among all households with an employed person, the person with the longest employment duration is likely to be employed part-time (49 percent working 30 or less hours per week).
- Among households served by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada 70 percent are living at or below the federal poverty level. (The Federal Poverty Level depends on household size. A family of three is at the poverty level with a household income at or below $19,530.)
The full national report can be found here