There are approximately 19 active food pantries in Broward County inclusive of the Soref JCC's WECARE Food Pantry, and 4 active food banks.
According to the Florida Dept. of Education, the percent of Broward County public elementary school students qualifying for free or reduced lunch has risen nearly 43% over the last two decades (42.5% in the 1999/2000 school year to approximately 60.0% in the 2018/2019 school year. Almost half of all WECARE Food Pantry recipients are children less than 18 years old. Children need a healthy diet to ensure an active, healthy life and provide them with a proper foundation to maximize their education.
- The Children's Defense Fund released a report on the effects of child hunger and food insecurity, which is defined as the lack of consistent access to enough food to ensure active, healthy living. CDF's report shows that hunger is leaving many of America's families and children behind, with effects that range from health problems to academic achievement delays and social difficulties.
- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.3 million American children were food insecure in 2003; of these, 420,000 lived in households where someone had to go hungry. Overall, 36.3 million Americans experienced food insecurity in 2003, 1.4 million more than in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In 2018, the federal poverty level was $25,750 for a family of four. Of course, this number is a minimum. Families making twice that much are still considered low-income by most experts, and many struggle to make ends meet. How many Americans live in poverty? Over 38 million, or 12% of all Americans, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 15 million of those were children.
- Lack of dietary diversity and essential minerals and vitamins also contributes to increased child and adult mortality. Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune system, increasing the annual death toll from measles and other diseases by an estimated 1.3 million-2.5 million children.
- Malnutrition can severely affect a child's intellectual development. Malnourished children often have stunted growth and score significantly lower on math and language achievement tests than do well-nourished children.
- More than 153 million of the world's malnourished people are children under the age of 5.
- Most of the widespread hunger in a world of plenty results from grinding, deeply rooted poverty. In any given year, however, between 5 and 10 percent of the total can be traced to specific events: droughts or floods, armed conflict, political, social and economic disruptions.
- Six million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of hunger.