Hunger continues to be a problem in Hawaii, Ige says

More than 5,000 Hawaii residents told the U.S. Census Bureau they often did not have enough to eat. Ten times more reported they sometimes did not have enough food.

Food insecurity continues to plague the Aloha state, according to Gov. David Ige. He issued a third emergency proclamation that extends benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In June, more than 92,000 families in Hawaii received $18.4 million in benefits through SNAP, according to Ige's proclamation.

"Many Hawaii families continue to suffer from food insecurity as they struggle to provide food for themselves and their families because of the effects of the pandemic," Ige said Friday. "Without additional support from SNAP, families may experience food insecurity, which poses a threat to the health, safety and welfare of our communities and constitutes this emergency declaration."

The Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey measured food scarcity in the 50 states between June 20 to July 11. The agency said 10.5% of Hawaii's households reported experiencing food scarcity. More than 55,000 residents said they sometimes did not have enough to eat.

Of the 5,298 residents who said they often did not have enough to eat, nearly 4,500 of them identified as female and the majority were between the ages of 18 and 39.

The Census Bureau survey measured the total population over the age of 18 in households with children. The percentages are based on the number of people that responded and does not include the entire state's population, according to the bureau.

Nearly 12% of the U.S. population that responded to the survey reported food scarcity. The state with the highest percentage of food scarcity was Louisiana at 19%. Washington state had the lowest rate at 5.3%, according to the survey.

Ige's tied food scarcity to rising costs in other areas in his emergency declaration.

"These individuals continue to find themselves suffering from food insecurity as they struggle to provide food for themselves and their families due to the effects of the pandemic coupled with the continued increase in the cost of daily living – groceries, child care, transportation, and utility costs as record inflation rates climb along with the unprecedented hike in gas prices," the proclamation reads.

The disaster declaration expires Sept. 20.

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