Hunger Stats & Information

The greater Carlisle area is a place thousands of people call home. However, many community members experience food insecurity. Food insecurity occurs when a family or individual does not have access to enough food, at all times, for an active, healthy life often because they have insufficient money or other resources for food1.

  • Food security – when a family, person, etc. has access to enough food, at all times, for an active, healthy life1
  • Food insecure—At times during the year, these households were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough (healthful 16) food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security1
  • Low food security—These food-insecure households obtained enough food to avoid substantially disrupting their eating patterns or reducing food intake by using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries1
  • Very low food security—In these food-insecure households, normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food1

Besides resulting in poorer health, food insecurity has notable effects on all ages of people ranging from social and behavioral issues in children5, higher rates of depression and anxiety in adults2, and higher rates of chronic health conditions in seniors6.

In the US, 12.3% of households are food insecure as of 2016 with 41.2 million people being affected1. In 2015, 13.1% of Pennsylvanian residents were food insecure3, and 10.3% of Cumberland County was food insecure3. Few statistics are available for Carlisle’s level of food insecurity, but the USDA identifies three regions of “food deserts” in the town as of 20154. Food deserts are areas vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers7.

Visible in the maps pictured below from the USDA Food Environment Atlas are two tracts in a green region, areas of “LI and LA at 1 and 10 miles4.” These regions are “low-income census tracts where a significant number or share of residents is at least 1 mile from the nearest supermarket in urban areas”4. The tract in the orange region represents the same except at least ½ a mile away from the nearest supermarket in an urban setting like Carlisle4. In the second map, low income and low vehicle access filters were applied to the same area, and clear overlap with the LI and LA filters is evident. “Low income” constitutes a tract with a poverty level of 20% or higher, or with a median family income less than 80% of the median family income of the state or metropolitan area4. “Low vehicle access” is defined as tracts with 100 or more households without access to a vehicle and are more than ½ a mile away from the nearest supermarket4.

Project SHARE is always making efforts to become more aware of the community’s specific needs and ameliorate its struggles with hunger. With this mapped information, we have a better sense of Carlisle’s circumstances and areas of food deserts. Represented by the red dot in the maps, Project SHARE’s Farmstand is strategically located in the middle of a region on which all four of the aforementioned layers on the Food Environment Atlas cover. With our Farmstand, we provide the regions with more low-income, low vehicle access residents who are a significant distance from a supermarket tracts a more convenient and close-to-home resource to get fresh, healthy food with which to better nourish themselves.


Sources used for this article which we invite you to check out:

  1. USDA Key Statistics & Graphics on Food Security in the U.S.

2. The Effects of Hunger and Food Insecurity in America from the Food Research and Access Center in Washington DC

3. Hunger and Poverty in Pennsylvania by Feeding America

4. USDA Food Access Research Atlas

5. Senior Hunger Fact Sheet by Feeding America

6. “USDA Defines Food Deserts” from the American Nutrition Association