Liz Kirchner

 

“Food insecurity” is defined as a lack of reliable access to enough nutritious food for a person to lead an active, healthy life. One out of eight Americans experiences food insecurity.

Earlier this month, Feeding America of Southwest Virginia presented the 2019 Feeding America “Map the Meal Gap,” an interactive map of the U.S., displaying food insecurity data for every county and city in the nation.

The map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners, food banks and advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.

Food insecurity may be experienced by people who earn below the poverty level and qualify for assistance, but the “Meal Gap” that is mapped in this study considers the working poor who make too much money to qualify for food assistance, but not enough to maintain food security at home.

Nearly a quarter of Southwest Virginia residents who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements, falling into that gap, the study finds.

Children are especially vulnerable to food insecurity the report says: 16.9 percent of children compared to 12.1 percent food insecurity for the overall population of Southwest Virginia.

“Children are more affected by the circumstances of their families,” Amanda Allen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

“Job loss and medical conditions affect…



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