The Meal Gap is the space between food security and insecurity. Feeding America has done the research, using community-level data to determine the food needs in each county. Food insecurity means a lack of consistent access to enough nutritionally adequate food to lead a healthy, active life.
Every county in Central Alabama has residents who do not qualify for Federal Nutrition Assistance, but still experience food insecurity. Moreover, many people who qualify for federal assistance still experience need on a regular basis. The only place they can turn to for help is the Community Food Bank and our partners.
Over 229,000 adults and 66,000 children in Central Alabama live in homes with access to adequate food (2021 numbers). That’s 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 people who experience hunger on a regular basis. Additionally, over 35,000 children fall within the meal gap – they do not qualify for federal nutrition aid (SNAP), and they would fall through the cracks without help from the Community Food Bank.
Learn more about these gaps in Central Alabama from the latest Map the Meal Gap Report.
In 2019, the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and Emerson Hunger Fellow, Paige Milson, completed a regional, comprehensive hunger study of the people served by the food bank. This study helps us to understand the needs of people who access food at CFB’s partner agencies, their general health, living situation, nutrition knowledge, and experiences with hunger and food pantries. The knowledge gained from the results of the Hunger Study will be used to inform and aid the Food Bank’s programmatic, service, and advocacy efforts.
“We try to eat healthily, but first we pay our bills, then we buy medicine, then we get food.” – Hunger Study Participant
“I used to love to eat fruit like grapes and apples when I was younger, but I haven’t eaten any in many years because they’re expensive and I don’t get to stores that have fruit very often. I rarely eat vegetables because they’re expensive and difficult to get to.” – Hunger Study Participant