A Wednesday report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found that 12% of Missouri households faced food insecurity, or inconsistent access to nutritious food, on average between 2016-2018. The rate is down slightly — 0.8% from the 2015-2017 average — but still higher than the national average of 11.7% in 2016-2018.
Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri, a statewide nutrition advocacy organization, attributed the rate’s drop to federal nutrition assistance programs and local charitable efforts.
“It is important that we strengthen these programs, rather than follow the reckless course being proposed by the Trump administration," Oxford said in a news release on behalf of the organization.
In 2018, Congress passed a bipartisan five-year Farm Bill to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. All eight congressional members and both senators from Missouri voted in support of the bill.
However, a new proposed rule from the USDA would remove SNAP eligibility for 3.1 million people in the United States, according to the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.
One in six rural and one in eight urban Missourians utilize SNAP benefits, according to the Empower Missouri release.
According to previous Missourian reporting, more than 31,000 Missouri food service workers live in households that received SNAP benefits.
MU students experiencing food insecurity can utilize Tiger Pantry, which provides groceries once a month, and additional produce on a weekly basis. The organization also offers weekly meal swipes to use at Campus Dining facilities. The Food Bank of Central & Northeast Missouri also maintains a registry of agencies that distribute food to community members.