We often think that families facing hunger live overseas in war-torn, drought-stricken or economically distressed nations. In fact, many of our own neighbors are at risk of hunger. Did you know that the parents or guardians of nearly 73,000 children in central Alabama say their children sometimes skip meals, do not eat for a whole day or go hungry because there is not enough money to buy food for the household?
So who is hungry in central Alabama? Our neighbors.
- Over 232,000 children, seniors, veterans, & neighbors are food insecure in central Alabama.
- 70% of people seeking food assistance live in families with three or less members.
- 62% have earned a high school degree, GED or pursued higher education.
- 18% pursued higher education including a two- or four-year degree.
- 57% have combined incomes below $10,000 per year.
- 44% have a household member who worked for pay in the last 12 months.
The fact that even one child or adult in central Alabama is at risk of hunger means we have gaps in our food system. Federal nutrition programs like free school meals or SNAP (food stamps) do much to address hunger but the assistance does not fully meet the need.
- Children who depend upon free or reduced priced meals at school may be at risk of hunger on weekends, holidays, and over the summer when schools are closed.
- Children up to four years old are too young to attend school where free meals are served.
- 80% of households in central Alabama who seek emergency food assistance and receive food stamps report that their food stamp allocation runs out by the third week of the month.
- Over 21,500 children who are at risk of hunger in central Alabama live in families that earn too much to qualify for SNAP (food stamps) or free/reduced priced meals at school.
These parents are forced to make stark choices: Should I buy groceries or pay the utility bill? Will our food last until my next paycheck? Even though I skipped dinner, will the kids have enough to eat tonight?
Due to economic distress, people seeking charitable food assistance in Central Alabama report making choices between paying for food and other basic needs.
Residents at risk of hunger employ multiple strategies to avoid hunger.
These stressors compound health problems.