Nationwide study reveals high hunger rates in the Shenandoah Valley

empty-plate-headerThe Blue Ridge Area Food Bank announced today that the annual Map the Meal Gap results show that food insecurity continues to remain high in the Blue Ridge area. 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%

Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is defined by the usda as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life. Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.

“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. ”

“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”

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.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at


About the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Founded in 1981, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia. Headquartered in Verona, VA, the Food Bank serves 25 counties and nine cities through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester and Verona. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank distributes nearly 22 million pounds of food annually to 120,000 people each month through a network of 234 community partners – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools, churches and other non-profit groups. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, a national food bank association that supports 202 food banks across the United States. For more information, visit


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