Our Neighbors are hungry
In greater Cleveland alone, there are 233,580 people who struggle with hunger or food insecurity.

At 18.6% of the population, this is well above the state and national averages. In fact, Cuyahoga County has the highest number of residents in the state who struggle with hunger or food insecurity.

What is food insecurity?

Being food insecure means that someone doesn't have enough money for food and other basic needs, such as housing, transportation or medical bills, and must choose amongst them. Food-insecure households had difficulty at some time during the year providing food for all their members due to a lack of resources.

Percentage of the population that is food insecure
Hunger doesn’t discriminate

Hunger affects the young and old, families of all sizes, people working full-time jobs and those who are unemployed, and across every race and neighborhood. It affects people in almost every community, both urban and suburban. It affects your neighbors.


1 in 5 kids in Greater Cleveland is food insecure.


1 in 6 adults in Greater Cleveland is food insecure.


1 in 6 seniors in Ohio is at risk of hunger.

Working hard

Although a common stereotype is that people who are food insecure are unemployed or not looking for work, 85% of food-insecure households with children are headed by adults who work.

Single Female Earner: 34%
Married, Two Earners: 25%
Married, One Earner: 20%
Single Male Earner: 6%
No Earners: 15%
Racial breakdown of food insecurity across the country
1 in 4 African-American children
1 in 4 Latino children
1 in 8 white/non-Hispanic children
What About food assistance?
One option for people who struggle with hunger is to seek out food assistance.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be known as Food Stamps, offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible low-income (making less than $2,665 a month for a family of four) individuals and families according to the USDA’s Income Eligibility Standards for 2018. SNAP can be used to buy foods like breads, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry and dairy products.

The typical Ohio household receiving SNAP is
Single parent
50% have someone with a disability
25% has someone over the age of 60


SNAP recipients in Cuyahoga County (17% of the county).


While the average person spends just over $49 per week for food in Cuyahoga County, SNAP benefits only cover around $39 per week, leaving a sizeable 26% gap.


of SNAP participants relied on local food programs to meet their needs.

Community support: Food pantries

Food pantries throughout Greater Cleveland provide resources to assist those who struggle with hunger. Cuyahoga County has 33 county-funded food pantries. There are about 160 pantries overall in the county.

Community support: Food pantries
Food pantries offer support around the Greater Cleveland area. Hover your mouse over the different areas to view the number of food pantry visits by zip code. Zoom in and out by clicking the +/- icons on the left-hand side of the map, or by placing your cursor over the map and scrolling up or down. Dark blue signifies zip codes with higher numbers of food pantry visits, while light blue highlights those with lower rates..

Number of Food Pantry Visits by Zip Code

Number of Food Pantry Visits by Zip Code

Data Provided: Greater Cleveland Food Bank

How to Use the Map
Tough Choices

Being food insecure forces people to make tradeoffs between basic needs. But there are no easy decisions: sacrificing food can spiral into health problems and developmental issues but neglecting other basic needs to buy food can lead to homelessness or unemployment. This means people must make tough choices to survive.

For people that use food pantries:


of people have had to choose between food and medical care


have had to choose between food and utilities


have had to choose between food and housing


of have had to choose between food and transportation


have had to choose between food and paying for education

Children who are food insecure are:


more likely to have problems in cognitive, language and behavioral development.


more likely to spend time in the hospital

More likely to repeat a grade in elementary school

More likely to have social and behavioral problems in school

Lower birth weight

Insulin resistance and glucose intolerances later in life

Adults who are food insecure are:

At high risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity

More likely to visit the emergency room


more likely to experience depression


Spending 45% more on medical care a year than people in food-secure households

Making a difference

Our neighbors should not be hungry. To combat this, we’re taking action to fight hunger in Greater Cleveland.
United Way funds and partners with numerous organizations in the community to provide meals and food for food-insecure individuals. Through these partnerships, in 2017 we fed 40,000 individuals 577,000 meals.

Food-insecure community members can also get help through 2-1-1 HelpLink. 2-1-1 HelpLink connects individuals and families to social services, including solutions for hunger. 2-1-1 HelpLink provides assessment, information and service navigation to help people understand their options, resolve problems and improve their lives. This year, 13% of 2-1-1 HelpLink calls were related to hunger. 97% of those calls were successfully resolved and people were connected to the services they needed.

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