AUSTIN, Texas — As Texas housing prices rise and we're faced with record-breaking inflation, more families are struggling to make ends meet as their income remains stagnant.
A new poll conducted in partnership with No Kid Hungry Texas found parents and rural Texans are hit the hardest with food insecurity. But even middle-income households are struggling with access to food.
About 33% of respondents with annual income between $50,000 and $100,000 reported one or more symptoms of food insecurity.
"That can look like skipping a meal or being able to access nutritious food," said Mia Medina, program manager for No Kid Hungry Texas.
In the survey, middle-income earners were also asked if they had an unexpected expense – like a $1,500 car repair or medical bill – would they be worried about buying groceries? About 65% of adults said they would.
And some people have limited options when it comes to help. Many middle-income families are on the threshold for income where they make too much to get additional support but not enough to get by.
"A parent in Tarrant County, they shared that they were unable to feed their 5-year-old daughter three meals a day," Medina said. "So, they often go without meals throughout the day so that they can make sure that their daughter gets fed."
Advocates are now asking Texas lawmakers to provide school meals at no cost for all students who need them. While reduced-price meals may seem modest in cost – $0.40 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch – they remain a barrier for many working families.
Covering those costs could help working families use that money for other things like school supplies and clothes for their quickly growing kids.