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Hunger in the Appalachians

As one of the top food producers in the world, it would make sense if hunger or food insecurity no longer existed in the United States, but that just isn’t the case. Even though it may seem like there is an abundance of food in the country, that doesn’t mean it always gets into the hands of those that desperately need it.

At Against Global Hunger, we have made it our mission to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the U.S. and to feed starving children around the globe. By packaging and delivering high-nutrition meals, we are trying to end world hunger one package of food at a time, but we can’t do it alone.   

Hunger in the Appalachians

Food insecurity has been an issue in Appalachia for years and years, and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines the term as a “condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” According to Feeding America, a national organization that fights hunger, the average rate of food-insecure individuals for five states in the Appalachian region is almost 14 percent, compared to the nationwide average of 12.5 percent.

Appalachia encompasses over 200,000 square miles of land that includes parts of 13 different states, including West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Home to over 25 million people, most live in rural areas that don’t have some of the same opportunities as other large geographical areas. For years, Appalachia has depended heavily on mining, forestry, agriculture, and heavy industry. At one point, as many as one-third of its residents lived in poverty. 

Hunger in the Appalachians

New manufacturing and service industries have diversified Appalachia, but poverty and food insecurity is still a major issue. Some nonprofit organizations are able to fill gaps in federal food assistance programs, but this community needs all of the help it can get. That’s where organizations like Against Global Hunger enter the picture.  

Volunteer With Against Global Hunger

Based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Against Global Hunger depends heavily on volunteers and donations in order to provide highly nutritious meals to areas with food insecurity. AGH has teamed up with schools, organizations, and church groups in an attempt to curb the hunger problem facing Oklahomans, US citizens, and the world. We create partnerships with organizations or individuals that need to log hours for community service projects or with volunteers who simply want to help.  

Working with missionaries, humanitarian organizations, and other partners around the world, Against Global Hunger is on a mission to get much-needed food to food-insecure communities that might not get it otherwise. Partnerships are the lifeblood of AGH, and we can’t do it without caring volunteers, organizations, and donors.

Here are just a few examples of how you can help Against Global Hunger:

  • Filling food boxes
  • Cleaning
  • Filing
  • Moving boxes
  • Labeling bags
  • Answering the phone
  • Helping set up for an event

Dealing with Hunger During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Food insecurity existed long before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world, but it was much easier to get food to those who need it. The pandemic lockdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing made it increasingly more difficult to reach those in need of food. So many people lost their main source of income, putting even more pressure on food distribution organizations.  Limited household budgets, lockdowns, mandates, and limited access to meal services created an even bigger problem with food insecurity. The effect of COVID-19 on food insecurity varies across different communities, and Appalachia was hit hard.

With social distancing, vaccines, and mask mandates, the government made crucial decisions  that affected how organizations could distribute food in 2020. Eventually, the mask and social-distancing mandates were lifted throughout most of the country, and millions of people have been vaccinated. But other variants of COVID-19 are expected, which could lead to more red tape for food distribution. 

At AGH, we believe that our communities are stronger when we join together. We can give our neighbors a hand up by volunteering, organizing, or donating. 

Facts about poverty and hunger in America

Even in the world’s greatest food-producing nation, children and adults face poverty and hunger in every county across America.

  • In 2019, 34 million people lived in poverty in America. For a family of four, that means earning just $25,000 per year.
  • Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 35 million people faced hunger in the United States, including more than 10 million children.
  • A household that is food insecure has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
  • Children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States. 
  • The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of families without stable employment. More than 42 million people, including 13 million children, may experience food insecurity.