HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 35,000 Hawaii households are "food insecure," which means they've run into trouble providing enough food for their families and, in some cases, have gone hungry, a newly-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report estimates.
Meanwhile, about 14,500 families have "very low food security."
The estimates are based on a three-year average of surveys conducted from 2015 to 2017.
In all, about 7.4 percent of Hawaii households were determined to be food insecure. The good news: That's down from 2012 to 2014, and represents the lowest rate in the country, according to the report.
Ron Mizutani, president and CEO of the Hawaii Foodbank, said the numbers don't tell the full story, though.
"Hawaii Foodbank, through its network of island food banks, food pantries and meal programs, continues to provide food to help feed more than 287,000 people ever year. That's 1 in 5 people statewide, including nearly 48,000 keiki and 46,000 kupuna," he said, in a statement.
"Those are numbers that no one should be satisfied with. Hunger is an issue that affects all of us in some way."
Nationally from 2015 to 2017, about 12 percent of Americans were food insecure. New Mexico had the highest prevalence of food insecurity, with 17.9 percent.
The report also found more than half of food insecure households in America had participated in federal nutrition assistance programs.