One in five children in Augusta, Rockingham at risk of hunger issues

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, today released a new study which reveals that more than 20 percent of children under the age of 18 in Augusta County are struggling with hunger. In Rockingham County, more than 19 percent of children are food insecure.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall is food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children is food insecure.

“Between Augusta and Rockingham counties, more than 6,600 children are at risk of hunger. Imagine, 6,600 hungry children …,” said Larry Zippin, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “And the number of food insecure children in the surrounding localities is alarming as well. These are children we know and see every day. They are our neighbors – even your child’s best friend.”

The study is an important tool because it provides critical information for developing strategies to alleviate child hunger.

One way in which the food bank has been tackling child food insecurity is through several afterschool feeding programs, in particular, the BackPack Program, an initiative that provides children at risk of hunger with backpacks full of nourishing food to carry home on weekends and school vacations. Children at Wenonah, William Perry and Craigsville elementary schools have been benefitting from the program for several years. And the numbers are rising. The Food Bank has experienced a 17 percent increase in participation across all of its afterschool feeding programs in the Valley between the 2010 and 2011 school years.

Of the 6,600 children at risk of hunger in Augusta and Rockingham counties, more than 4 in 10 qualify for nutrition programs, such as SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) and other Federal Nutrition programs, but are not receiving the assistance because they are above 185 percent of poverty, making them ineligible.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

This research is supported by ConAgra Foods Foundation. The ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need.

The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.