Food Insecurity in America
One of the things that I cannot wrap my head around involves food insecurity in America. How can the greatest nation on the planet have so many hungry people? The food insecurity rate for Alabama equals 17%. Mobile County’s food insecurity rate equals 16.8%; Washington County’s rate equals 19.3%; Choctaw County’s rate equals 20.7 %; and last but certainly not least, Clarke County’s rate equals 21.1%. That’s right, around 20% of us who live in Southwest Alabama go to bed hungry and wake up hungry.
Since the Covid-19 epidemic, United Way of Southwest Alabama’s 2-1-1 service line has received hundreds of more calls per month compared to last year during the same time frame, and the number one request for services involves food and shelter.
I wish that these problems simply involved lack of food and housing, but they do not. Many of the same people need medications, healthcare, transportation, education, job training, and life skills training. As a family, the UWSWA and its 47 partners work to address all of these issues. We work in concert to holistically address the problems facing our community; problems which Covid-19 has so wonderfully and successfully brought to the attention of our nation and of our local community.
What can you do? Give, advocate, volunteer. As United Way of Southwest Alabama kicks off its 2020 Community Campaign, we need people to donate to fight hunger; we need people to advocate to our elected officials about the inequities in Southwest Alabama; and we need people to volunteer by assisting UWSWA in raising funds or by helping in our internal programs or the programs through our partner agencies.
YOU have the POWER to change our narrative in Southwest Alabama.
YOU can Change LIVES.
YOU can SAVE LIVES.
Mapping the Gap: For the tenth consecutive year, Feeding America conducted their annual Map the Meal Gap study to improve our understanding of and food costs at the local level. The most recent release is based on data from 2018. In response to COVID-19, they also released a companion study and interactive map that illustrate the projected impact of the pandemic on local food insecurity in 2020. To better assess the current and future state of local food insecurity, it is critical to understand historical variations prior to the pandemic. Only then can we develop effective strategies to reach people at risk of hunger.