Study: High Hunger Rates in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg

May 14, 2014

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank announces results from the annual Map the Meal Gap study show that food insecurity continues to remain high in the Blue Ridge area.

Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.

According to the newly released data, nearly 10 percent of people in the area are food insecure, including more than 51,000 children.

In Virginia, 12.1 percent of the population is food insecure. The study revealed 12 localities in the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s service area with food insecurity rates exceeding the state average:

1) City of Harrisonburg: 18.5%
2) City of Lynchburg: 18%
3) City of Charlottesville: 17.9%
4) City of Lexington: 17.7%
5) Bedford City: 16.7%
6) Buckingham County: 16.7%
7) City of Winchester: 14.6%
8) City of Waynesboro: 14%
9) City of Buena Vista: 13.8%
10) City of Staunton: 13.6%
11) Appomattox County: 13.2%
12) Page County: 12.6%

“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 illustrate that declining unemployment doesn’t always parallel improved food security,” said Michael McKee, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “Many of our clients are working very hard, but in jobs that don’t provide adequate wages to pay the bills and buy food for their families. Until good-paying jobs become increasingly available in our area and every community across the nation, hunger will continue to be a major problem."

The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level.

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