From 2010 to 2013, the meal supply in Marion County grew by 30 million meals per year. IHN’s goal had been to assure there was enough food for all, but no suitable metric for the remaining meal gap could be found. So in 2014, with help from IUPUI and USDA, a first-of-its-kind survey of unmet need for food assistance was designed and executed. The study found that 21% of Marion County residents needed food assistance and estimated the unmet need for food at 9 million meals a year. This study became the basis for choosing the next round of improvement projects.  Since then, collaboration among nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Indianapolis has created a food assistance “safety net” that is helping nearly all food insecure households. A follow-up survey completed in February 2017  indicated that there hadn’t been a significant change in the percentage of people needing food assistance or those with unmet need. There was a drop in the number of meals missed by people with unmet needs, and the overall gap in the number of meals needed to provide enough food for all dropped to 5 million. In 2020, IHN completed two surveys: one conducted in the winter before the COVID-19 pandemic began and the other in June 2020. The two surveys of those needing food assistance estimated the amount of additional food assistance needed to meet all of the food need, and the characteristics of those who need food assistance. Full reports and summaries of each report are available for download below. 

2020 Meal Gap videos

Videos are available to share and explain the survey results from IHN’s 2020 Meal Gap study. You are welcome to download and share these videos in order to spread the word about local food insecurity.