Status Report on Hunger

Thousands of Rhode Islanders Lack Adequate Food in Prolonged COVID-19 Emergency 

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 2021 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island

Food Insecurity Remains High as Rhode Island’s Economy Recovers

Food insecurity remains widespread in Rhode Island. But the economic disruption caused by the pandemic could have been much worse if it were not for the massive response of government to the emergency.

Among all households in Rhode Island, 18 percent (one in six households) cannot meet their basic food needs. The risk of hunger is even higher for families with children: one in four.

These are findings from the RI Life Index, which was conducted between April and August 2021. The RI Life Index is an initiative of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and the Brown University School of Public Health.

Results from the RI Life Index also reveal racial and ethnic disparities. Whereas 14 percent of White households reported food insecurity, the rate was significantly higher among non- White households: 34 percent for Black households, 34 percent for Latinx households, and 25 percent among all remaining households, including Asian, Native American, and multi-racial.

Communities of color in Rhode Island were disproportionately harmed by COVID-19, in terms of illness and financial losses, compounding long-standing inequities in health and income.

Without earned income, many families could not afford basic living expenses, including food. In 2020, food insecurity in Rhode Island reached the highest level recorded in twenty years with one in four households at risk of hunger. Fewer households are in dire need today, but the prevalence of food insecurity remains far above pre-COVID levels.

View the full report.

Action Steps

  • Call on Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to reduce child poverty and racial inequities by making the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent.
  • Urge the Governor to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to streamline access to SNAP benefits for eligible households in Rhode Island.
  • Thank the State representatives and senators who voted to increase the minimum wage, raise RI Works benefits, and boost funding for the Food Bank.

For more information on these action steps, and how to contact your elected officials, visit our Advocate For Change page.

View previous Status Reports on our Publications page.