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Geary, Riley Counties Top Kansas Food Insecurity List

Feeding America

A new study of food insecurity finds some familiar patterns in Kansas. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, there are also a few surprises.

Every year when the County Health Rankings are published, they show southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County as having persistent problems with poverty. So it should come as no surprise that those same places have a high degree of food insecurity—defined as a lack of reliable access to adequate food.

But the county with the highest rate of food insecurity in Kansas, according to a new report from the hunger-relief organization Feeding America, is Geary County, home to Junction City and Fort Riley. Number two on the list is neighboring Riley County, which is often in the top group of counties in the annual health rankings.

Tina Johnson manages the Geary County Food Pantry, which provides food to about 100 families a week.

“I often hear, ‘If we couldn’t have come here, I don’t know what we were going to do. I don’t know what I was going to feed my family tonight, if we couldn’t have come here,’” Johnson says.

One in every 7 Kansans experiences food insecurity. Among children, the figure is 1 in 5.