Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 report is the largest, most comprehensive analysis of charitable food assistance in America.
Food banks from all over the country, including Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), participated in the study to learn more about the clients we serve and the need in our community.
The new report shows that 1 in 7.5 people, or an estimated 755,400 people, in metro Atlanta and north Georgia turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families each year. This includes more than 164,000 children and more than 64,000 seniors.
Each year, 1 in 7 Americans turn to Feeding America network food banks for help. Each week, the Feeding America network serves 5.4 million individuals. ACFB has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1979.
For the Atlanta Community Food Bank service area, the report shows that 80,600 people are served each week by programs supported through ACFB, and that those clients turn to ACFB partner programs and pantries for help more than 6.1 million times over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting ACFB network programs an average of 8 times a year.
The new study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by ACFB – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes.
Among the findings – the report reveals very telling facts about the employment and income situations of our clients:
56% of client households report monthly incomes of less than $1000.
28% of respondents have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.
Among all households served by Atlanta Community Food Bank agencies and programs, 59% have at least one member who has been employed in the past year.
The report also goes into detail about some of the tough choices our clients face each month when it comes to deciding what to pay for when you have limited means. Some examples of what we call “spending trade-offs” include:
76% report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.
43% of these households are making the choice every month.
82% report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.
46% of these households are making the choice every month.
73% report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.
36% of these households are making the choice every month.
62% report choosing between paying for food and paying for housing.
35% of these households are making the choice every month.
39% report choosing between paying for food and paying for education expenses.
22% are making the choice every month.
Our clients are also forced to make tough choices about the food that they eat. Subsequently, many of them suffer from chronic health conditions. For example:
86% of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.
73% of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
- 40% of households include a member with diabetes.
11Alive - Most food bank clients have jobs but still struggle - View story.
Atlanta Business Chronicle - ACFB, Feeding America shed light on local hunger problem - View story.
USA Today - Hunger in America: 1 in 7 rely on food banks - View story.
NPR - More Military Families Are Relying On Food Banks And Pantries - View story.
NBC News - Military Families Forced to Subsidize Income With Food Banks - View story.
MSNBC - The hunger crisis in America’s universities - View story.
The Feeding America ‘Hunger in America Study’ is the only comprehensive nationwide study that provides in-depth information on the characteristics, circumstances and coping strategies of those living with hunger. We are often called upon by funders, legislators, and the communities we serve to provide information about those who are living with hunger and agencies that serve the hungry. Findings from this study will give Feeding America and the Atlanta Community Food Bank the information they need to fight hunger in America for the next several years and to answer questions about the needs of the hungry.
The study is done once every four years and results in reports for the nation and Georgia.
We are thankful for the over 170 volunteers who trained for the Hunger Study and helped us as we visited over 100 different sites.