With the U.S. government's blessing, a new national hotline was launched Tuesday with the aim of linking hungry Americans to available food pantries and government assistance.
The hotline, operated by the nonprofit Hunger Free America, can be accessed by dialing 1-866-3-HUNGRY or its Spanish language equivalent, 1-877-8-HAMBRE. In addition to connecting callers with food resources, the program will also facilitate volunteers who want to help with food assistance.
Hunger Free America estimates one in seven Idahoans—and one in five Idaho children—live in households that can't always afford enough food.
"If you’re hungry or at risk of hunger, it can be a daunting task to obtain food and benefits," Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg stated in Tuesday's announcement. "The hunger hotline can immediately help connect families with food providers in their area."
In April, new analysis from Feeding America, called "Map the Meal Gap," revealed Idaho's food insecurity rate is 14.7 percent of the total population, representing 241,080 people. In the Treasure Valley, Ada County registered a 14.2 percent food insecurity rate, representing an estimated 58,120 total people. In Canyon County, there was a 14 percent food insecurity rate, representing an estimated 24,420 people. Among children, there was a 17.4 percent food insecurity rate in Ada County, representing 18,330 children, and there was a 20.7 percent food insecurity rate in Canyon County, representing 12,400 children.
- Hunger Free America