One out of every eight Utah households struggled to afford enough food last year. It’s better than the national average, but advocates say there’s still room for improvement.
Nearly 13 percent of Utah households had trouble affording enough food in 2015, according to a new report released by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).
Gina Cornia is the executive director of the nonprofit Utahns Against Hunger. She says while that’s better than much of the rest of the country, she had hoped for even better results, given Utah’s low unemployment rate.
“I think what it speaks to is that those folks who may have been unemployed or who may have been underemployed are still not earning enough money to meet their basic needs,” she says.
Cornia says low wages may be a contributor.
And while there are resources for nutrition assistance, she says they’re not always easily accessible to all Utahns.
“If you live somewhere that is extremely rural, the challenges of getting food are a lot higher,” Cornia says. “If you live an hour from a grocery store or there’s an emergency food pantry that may be only open once a week or sometimes once a month, it makes it much more difficult to get access to food.”
Many counties and school districts provide free meals for kids younger than 18 during the summer, but Cornia says there aren’t as many opportunities for home-bound seniors in need of help.
She encourages Utahns who are struggling to find help at uah.org.