Hunter Stuart of Huffington Post includes substantial amounts of original research and reporting in this excellent summary of our country's hunger problem with many useful links in 49 Million Americans Go Hungry, Despite So-Called Recovery, which I recommend, fully aware that many prefer not to venture over to HuffPo.
As of 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, there were about 49 million Americans who, like the Ryans, were “food insecure,” meaning they have limited access to sufficient amounts of food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Interviews with several food banks around the country suggest things haven't really improved since then.
A new report from the hunger relief charity Feeding America throws the nation’s struggle with hunger into an even starker light. The report, titled "Map the Meal Gap 2014," broke the USDA’s data down county by county, giving a more nuanced picture of food insecurity. The report reveals that there are 16 counties in the U.S. with more than 100,000 “food insecure” children -- a number you might expect to see in a developing country rather than the world’s wealthiest nation.
Though the percentage of Americans without enough nutritious food has stayed level in recent years, food costs are rising steadily for those people: The Feeding America report found that, on average, people struggling to afford food said they needed an extra $15.82 per person per week in 2012, up from $14.35 in 2011.
Stuart interviews a dozen food banks around the country and finds all but one are experiencing record high demand even though the recession officially ended in 2009.
Some cite cuts in food prices, other attribute the increases to higher food and energy prices.
This link to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap provides an interactive national map full of information about where food shortages are worse.
Stuart includes an interview with Craig Gundersen who encourages those experiencing food insecurity to overcome social stigma and sign up for programs like SNAP, aka Food Stamps.