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Feeding America SW Virginia Aims to Decrease Local Food Insecurity

According to the nonprofit group Feeding America, one in six children in Virginia struggles with hunger. (Pixabay)
According to the nonprofit group Feeding America, one in six children in Virginia struggles with hunger. (Pixabay)
September 12, 2018

ROANOKE, Va. – People around the country are stepping up to to help fight hunger, including for the nearly 900,000 struggling with food insecurity in the Commonwealth.

September is Hunger Action Month and in Virginia, one in eight people faces hunger across the state. For many, one issue is that they live in so-called "food deserts," where stores that offer fresh foods are hard to come by.

Amanda Allen, marketing and communications coordinator for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, says her group has ties to more than 350 partner organizations and programs.

"We have the advantage of being able to direct people to services that are pretty close to where they live, depending on what they need," says Allen. Whether they're looking for a meal that they could receive at a soup kitchen, or if they're looking for some groceries to take home, their local food pantry could help them with that."

She adds some of programs prioritize helping children receive food or school supplies.

They're also encouraging people to get out and volunteer in their neighborhoods by signing up with local organizations to help those in need.

The number of people in southwest Virginia who don't always have enough food has decreased from previous years, but still totals more than 144,000 in the region. Allen says for those who are still affected, higher food prices are complicating the problem.

And while this month's goal is to fill empty stomachs, she says there are many ways to make a difference: "You can also advocate; you can reach out and tell people about the hunger situation in your own community."

Allen notes that charitable groups are unable to fully support those struggling with hunger, and that government food assistance also is necessary to help bridge the meal gap.

She says donating your time, volunteering at local food pantries and sharing your views with local officials are all effective ways to make an impact on hunger.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - VA