Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization releases an annual Map the Meal Gap study, providing benchmarks for hunger-focused organizations across the country to use as they serve who are "food insecure," a term defined by the USDA as "consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year." According the Map the Meal Gap for 2014 report, 69,500, or 14.4%, of those living in Second Harvest's service area (including Crawford, Erie, Huron and Lorain counties) are considered to be food insecure. A large number (36,203 people) are living below 130% of the poverty level, which was $15,312 during this period.
The Map the Meal Gap analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with the Nielsen Company to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency. A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.