2019 Status Report on Hunger

2019 Status Report on Hunger

Rhode Island Families Are Already Missing Meals. Cuts to SNAP Will Leave More People Hungry

Each year, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank releases its Status Report on Hunger, calling attention to the issues around hunger in the state of Rhode Island.

Download the 2019 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island


  • Low-income Rhode Islanders experience a significant meal gap with over 11 million meals missed each year.
  • Hunger is linked to serious and costly health problems.
  • Demand for food assistance remains high at member agencies of the Food Bank as families struggle to afford basic household expenses.
  • Senior adults and families with children will lose SNAP  benefits under Trump administration proposals, increasing their food insecurity.

Low-Income Rhode Islanders Are Missing 11 Million Meals

Guest shoppingThe economy is strong, with low unemployment, but there are still thousands of Rhode Islanders who cannot afford three healthy meal a day.

172,000 Rhode Islanders live in households with incomes below the level of poverty that qualifies children for free school meals (130 percent of the federal poverty level). For everyone living in these households to have three meals per day, 188.3 million meals are needed in a year.

Most low-income households use their own earnings along with government benefits, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), to purchase food. All schools offer children from low-income households free breakfast and lunch meals. Many families also rely on member agencies of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank for food assistance.

Action Steps

  • Urge the Rhode Island Department of Health at ri.gov/contact to conduct a statewide campaign to promote eWIC and boost WIC enrollment among families with young children.
  • Contact your state representative to advocate for legislation requiring high-poverty school districts in Rhode Island to provide “breakfast after the bell” to increase School Breakfast participation.
  • Contact the Governor at governor.ri.gov demanding an increase to state funding for the Food Bank to ensure that food pantries and meal programs can serve everyone in need.