MEET A.L.I.C.E.: The Newest Face of Hunger

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In the fight against hunger, there’s a new face you should know about: A.L.I.C.E. 

A.L.I.C.E. stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This term represents working families who earn above the federal poverty threshold but still don’t qualify for state or federal assistance such as SNAP or WIC benefits. Despite being employed, these families struggle with the rising costs of day-to-day living expenses, including food, due to ongoing inflation. 

In Utah, the data is striking. According to a Voices for Utah Children report, two out of three families need both parents to work to afford housing and other basic needs. In 2022, 36% of Utah households fell below the A.L.I.C.E. threshold. This means that, despite being employed, many families still face persistent financial hardship. They are often forced to make difficult decisions, like choosing between groceries or medications, and are one emergency away from poverty.  

“While Utah has made tremendous strides with regards to economic growth and improved wages, for many Utahns, there is just too much ground to make up when considering what it costs to raise a family and have a roof over your head,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank President & CEO. “Looking just at employment statistics, or even poverty rates, will never tell the complete story of the Utahns doing everything in their power to stay afloat, but are still worried about feeding their families. They are living in the gap between those two measurements of economic well-being, but we are still seeing them in line for food assistance across the state.” 

The need for food assistance surged at the beginning of the pandemic and remains high, partly due to high costs of living. When household food budgets are cut, organizations like ours and our 245 partner agencies across the state become the first line of defense. However, meeting this demand is an overwhelming challenge with no immediate relief in sight. We are constantly aware of the potential for a “Hunger Cliff” – a point at which progress in combating hunger stalls or reverses. We are at a critical threshold and surpassing it could lead to severe food insecurity in our communities. 

 Together, we are Fighting Hunger Statewide, working towards a community where everyone can access nutritious food. Your food, time, or money contributions can make a difference for many families this summer and beyond. To find out how you can get involved, click here.