A growing number of Mainers and other Americans are having trouble affording food, according to a new repport released today.

The Brunswick-based Good Shepherd Food Bank and Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization, today released a study titled “Map the Meal Gap.” It says nearly 200,000 Mainers – 15 percent – are insecure about having enough food and that Maine families need an estimated $91 million to eliminate food insecurity.

The study also says 43 percent of those experiencing food insecurity earn too much money to qualify for federal food supplements, or food stamps. That is true partly because the cost of an average meal in Maine – $2.75 – is higher than the national average of $2.54, according to the study.

Rick Small, executive director of Good Shepherd Food Bank, said the study reflects what his organization has seen – a growing number of working families coming to food pantries for help.

“These are people you wouldn’t have expected would need food. Most of them wouldn’t have expected to be in need, either, and most of them have a great difficulty asking for help,” he said.

Good Shepherd helps provide 25,000 meals a day around the state, he said. “You’d think 25,000 meals in a day would cover a lot, but at the very best, it’s half of what’s needed…. It’s much larger than I think the average person realizes.”

You can read the study here.