Kellogg program targets area suburban schools for funding

Kellogg program targets area suburban schools for funding

Survey finds 65 percent of Americans think hunger is an urban problem

Despite the fact more Americans live below the poverty line in the suburbs than in the city, a survey released today by Kellogg Company reveals most Americans are unaware of the growing need for assistance for food insecure people in suburbia. In the nationwide survey, only 35 percent of respondents said families in the suburbs would be more likely to experience hunger, yet according to government data, hunger, especially for households with children, has been growing faster in suburbs than cities since 2007. In the South, misconceptions are striking, as only 11 percent of respondents in the region identified the suburbs as the area most in need of hunger assistance.

“Lack of awareness of hunger in Memphis and surrounding area suburbs is a huge problem because it means that resources often aren’t sufficient to address the growing problem,” said Julie Bosley, Director, Philanthropy, Kellogg Company. “This challenge, for example, puts stresses on suburban schools trying to expand school breakfast programs for kids who need it and in other instances, the lack of resources can make it harder for those in need to access social programs, like food pantries that may not be as available in the suburbs.”

On a national level, suburban communities now account for nearly half of new students eligible for free or reduced school meals, according to USDA and the Department of Education. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.

The Kellogg survey found perceptions of food insecurity in America do not reflect the new reality facing millions of newly poor families in the suburbs:

• In 2012, there were 16.5 million Americans living below the poverty line in the suburbs compared with 13.5 million in cities, according to a 2014 report from Brooking Institution.

• The number of suburban poor is are growing at a more rapid rate than those in urban areas.

• The number of suburban poor living in neighborhoods with high unemployment and poverty grew by 139 percent since 2000, compared with a 50 percent jump in urban areas/cities.

The survey found a disparity in awareness of food insecurity in the suburbs among different demographic groups:

• Those employed fulltime (41 percent) were more aware versus the unemployed (35 percent) and retirees (20 percent).

• Only 6 percent of people with no children said assistance was most needed in the suburbs, versus 16 percent of respondents with children.

• The older the respondent, the more likely they were unaware of the need for assistance in the suburbs. For those age 55plus, only 5 percent believed need for assistance is greatest in the suburbs (67 percent urban; 28 percent rural).

• The larger the size of the household, the more likely they were to be aware of hunger in the suburbs: — For households of only one, 24 percent said a family in the suburbs is more likely to experience food insecurity.

— For households of five, 43 percent said a family in the suburbs is more likely to experience food insecurity.

Since 2013, Kellogg Company has been feeding children and families in need by expanding breakfast programs and donating cereals and snacks to food banks through its Breakfasts for Better Days global signature cause. In the U.S., Kellogg has joined with nonprofit partners to help expand access to the national school breakfast program for needy children, many in suburban school districts, so more children can start their day with a healthy breakfast. In February, Kellogg announced it had exceeded its 2016 year-end milestone to donate one billion servings of cereal and snacks to those in need.

“The outdated notion of equating the suburbs with prosperity means that areas like ours are often last in line in terms of assistance, despite the fact that nearly 62 percent of the students in our school are eligible for free and reduced meals,” says Rachel Hennings, District Coordinator for Coordinated School Health, Millington Municipal Schools. “We’re fortunate and grateful to have partners like Kellogg who understand the realities and provide schools and communities like ours with the support we need.”

In the U.S. last year, Kellogg provided $1 million in grants to Action for Healthy Kids, the Food Research and Action Center, and Share Our Strength, to help increase participation in school breakfast programs, many in suburban school districts.

About Kellogg Company At Kellogg Company, we strive to make foods people love. This includes our beloved brands – Kellogg's, Keebler, Special K, Pringles, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheez-It, Eggo, Mini-Wheats and more – that nourish families so they can flourish and thrive. With 2015 sales of $13.5 billion and more than 1,600 foods, Kellogg is the world's leading cereal company; second largest producer of cookies, crackers and savory snacks; and a leading North American frozen foods company.

Through our Breakfasts for Better DaysTM global hunger initiative, we've provided more than 1.4 billion servings of cereal and snacks to children and families in need around the world. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter @KelloggCompany, YouTube and on Social K. This survey was conducted online in the United States between May 5 and 6, 2016, among 1,279 adults age 18 and over by Kellogg Company via Toluna’s Multimind omnibus product.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys.

From Ken Sanderman