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Photo by Lance Cheung (USDA) // Public Domain

A new report from Hunger Free America indicates that one in five Philadelphia residents faces food insecurity, an increase from previous years.

The advocacy group found that 19.3 percent of Philadelphians faced food insecurity in 2014-16, an increase from 15.4 percent in 2011-2013. In contrast, food insecurity decreased nationally during this time period as the economy improved.

"When one in five Philadelphians can’t afford enough food — especially at a time when the situation is at least marginally improving nationwide — it is clear that the local and regional economy and social services systems are responsible for huge gaps in brotherly love," Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg said in a statement reported by local media outlet Philly Voice. 

Food insecurity is closely related to poverty, and Philadelphia has consistently been ranked as a city with one of the highest poverty rates. United States census data pinned Philadelphia at a 25.3 percent poverty rate in 2016, well above the national average

At Penn, various campus groups are working to reduce food insecurity. Several dining halls, including 1920 Commons and Hill College House, participate in a food recovery program with Philabundance, a local organization that offers leftover food to local charities. Additionally, the Swipe Out Hunger program allows students to donate extra meal swipes to combat food insecurity on campus and in the area.  

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