HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Food insecurity is affecting more families than ever before here in Virginia.

A new study on behalf of No Kid Hungry shows more middle-income families have been affected in recent months because of rising food costs.

Among 3,000 parents of public-school children surveyed across the country, 58% of middle-income and 68% of lower-income families say it’s become difficult to afford enough food to feed their kids over the last year.

One in five families with middle incomes reported that they or their children have skipped a meal in the last year due to rising food prices.

No Kid Hungry Virginia Director Sarah Steely said the survey also showed one in two middle income households reported that they are just one unexpected event away from not being able to afford food.

“It could be an unexpected medical bill, a car breaking down that would really put them in a situation of having to tighten their budget and maybe not put food on the table and support their kids in the way that they would want to,” Steely said.

Steely said the need is great in Virginia – but especially in Hampton Roads. One in four kids in our area faces food insecurity.

Surveyed parents said they are also starting to notice a negative impact on their children’s mental health as a result of not having enough to eat.

“We’re hearing from a lot of families that they are in a tighter place in terms of their budget then they were just last month or just last season,” Steely said. “We are hearing about longer lines at food banks and food pantries because of families seeking out additional benefits.”

This spring, No Kid Hungry and its partners are working to raise awareness about the importance that all kids get three nutritious meals a day.

“We know that childhood hunger exists in every community, in every corner of Virginia and every corner of the United States,” Steely said. “We know that families are hurting right now, but we know that it doesn’t have to be that way.”

No Kid Hungry Virginia works in many different ways to reach kids across the Commonwealth.

“We do that in a couple different ways,” Steely said. “One is connecting organizations like school nutrition departments and community groups with grants that help them launch and improve programs to help kids get the food they need to thrive.”

Know more

If you’d like to learn more about No Kid Hungry Virginia’s Mission, head to their website. View the full study here.