With the holidays coming up, fancy meals and lots of food are on many of our minds all the time. Thanksgiving equals food and football right? Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, pecan pie … it’s what we expect. What if you weren’t sure you’d be able to have Thanksgiving dinner, because it’s too expensive?
How many of us take for granted the food in our pantry? How many of us never worry about affording groceries each week? How many of us live with that worry constantly? How many of us have skipped a meal to be sure our kids get to eat? How many of us have tried to help those outside of our household be sure meals are on the table?
The poverty rate in Alabama is lower than most other states in the nation. Some data from Alabama Civil Justice Foundation (acjf.org):
- Alabama is the sixth poorest state in the U.S., and 18.5 percent of Alabamians live below the federal poverty line – a noticeably larger percentage than the national average of 14.7 percent.
- 14 of Alabama’s 67 counties have a poverty rate higher than 25 percent. Nine counties have a poverty rate higher than 30 percent.
- 26.5 percent – or nearly 300,000 – of Alabama’s children live in poverty.
- The risk of hunger is closely tied to poverty. Alabama has a notably high food insecurity rate at 17.7 percent, while the U.S. stands at 13.4 percent.
- The child food insecurity rate stands 24.1 percent, which is higher than the national average of 17.9 percent.
Bibb doesn’t fall into the worst (25%+) category on the map above, having a poverty rate of 20.1%. Nonetheless, that leaves us still significantly higher than the national average. And as food insecurity is directly tied to poverty, that implies our county’s children and families experience food insecurity at a rate of roughly 1 out of 5.
In fact, the Bibb County school system report card shows 63% of system-wide students fall in to the “economically disadvantaged category”. That means almost 2/3 of all students are on free or reduced meals. Children falling into this category sometimes rely on meals at school, and may not always have meals at home. How can we be sure these children and their families in our communities are getting enough to eat?
There are dedicated and caring people everywhere, including Bibb County. Here we have nine food banks, or food assistance organizations. There are groups in each community in the county, loosely drawn together by the H.O.P.E. in Bibb Food Bank Committee. The activity of these groups for the month of November is shown in the calendar below. Contact and other information is farther below.