In Virginia 1 in 6 children don't get enough to eat. Nearly 1,000,000 Virginians don’t know from where their next meal will come. The Feeding America network consists of 58,000 pantries, meal service programs, and other charitable food programs. The network serves people in every community throughout the USA. According to the 2014 Hunger in America study, food banks provide service to 46.5 million people across the United States. So who is hungry in Virginia?
“I never knew how wrong I was about people on food stamps - until I became one of them”[i]
Some people believe that hunger is caused by hedonistic behaviors, drug addiction and unemployment. For some, any of these may be a factor but many people experiencing hunger are college educated and working jobs that simply do not pay enough to provide for the family’s needs. Food bank records document that 69% of those served by food banks live below the official federal poverty level.
“In Virginia, food bank clientele consist of 30% children (8.7% are children 0 – 5 years old), 15% senior population 60 years and older, 56% households with at least one employed adult working for pay in the last 12 months and only 4% are homeless. An estimated 21% of households across the Commonwealth struggling with food insecurity report that someone in their household served or is currently serving in the US military."[ii]
Visit a food bank and you will have an opportunity to see the faces of those in your community affected by food insecurity. Take the opportunity to talk with food bank clientele and you will begin to see the scope of the problem. Your visit might even foster new ideas on how government, nonprofit organizations and people just like you can come together to end hunger in America.
When you visit a foodbank, take your legislative representative with you. You can find the food bank nearest to your home at this link: https://secure.feedingamerica.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=141