Poll results reveal starvation levels in Northern NV / Public News Service

A recent survey provides insight into the challenges of hunger that many Nevada families face on a daily basis.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada’s “Feeding Our Community” survey found that about half of their customers sometimes have to choose between food and transportation. One in three choose between paying for food or medical bills.

Nicole Lamboley, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, said the year-long study is being conducted in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno, and underscores the many “impossible choices” that are causing Nevada households to become food insecure.

“65 percent of the people surveyed had a household income of less than $20,000 per year,” Lamboley reported. “This is significant. So that means, you know, they’re making these tough decisions.”

The data showed that 72% of respondents rent or own their own home, with 26% paying for a mortgage. It was collected from March 2021 to March 2022.

Because of the timeframe, survey administrators recognized that it would be important to address whether and how the pandemic played a role. According to Lamboley, nearly 30% of respondents said they started using a pantry as a direct result of the pandemic.

She found that not only has demand for emergency food increased, but half of the participants said they were buying fewer healthy food options due to lower costs.

“When people have to make difficult choices, they choose unhealthy foods,” Lamboley observed. “Often they go with what isn’t the best. Fresh fruit and vegetables are sometimes out of people’s reach.”

Lamboley added that they currently serve more than 130,000 people a month, which is a record for the organization. Its service area includes 90,000 square miles of northern Nevada and the eastern Sierra region of California.

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