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, 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. The Food Bank 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 the Food Bank, and that those clients turn to the Food Bank partner programs and pantries for help more than 6.1 million times over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting the Food Bank network programs an average of 8 times a year.
The new study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Food Bank – 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.
The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of consistent access to adequate food resulting from the lack of money and other resources during the year. Poverty is simply one factor that can make it difficult for families to makes end meet. The federal poverty level equals an annual income of $24,250 for a family of four.
- In the Food Bank's 29-county service area, 15.7% of people are food insecure.
- In the Food Bank's 29-county service area, 23.4% of children are food insecure.
- 17.7% of the people living in Georgia are food insecure.
- 26.1% of Georgia children live in food insecure households. This is one in every four Georgia children.
- 18.4% of people living in Georgia are living below the poverty level.
- 26% of children under 18 years old are living below the poverty level.
- 9.4% of senior citizens in Georgia are living below the poverty level.
- As of 2016, Georgia remains one of only 2 states with minimum wage rates under the federal rate. Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15/hour.
- The unemployment rate in Georgia is 5.4%
- An estimated 48.1 million people (15.4%) in the United States are food insecure.
- 15.3 million children (20.9%) in the United States are food insecure.
- 47.7 million Americans (15.5%) were reported as living at or below the poverty level in 2015.
- The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is 21.7%.
- Nearly 24.5% of young children (ages 5 and under) in the U.S. live below the poverty level.
Counties served by the Atlanta Community Food Bank:
Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, Dekalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson GA, Heard, Henry, Lumpkin, Morgan, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Union, Walton
- As the need has continued to grow, the Food Bank has been able to respond, thanks to an involved and caring community. The Food Bank distributed a total of 69.3 million pounds of food and grocery products in Fiscal Year 2015-16 (enough for nearly 58 million meals), a 12% increase over the prior year.
- The Food Bank increased its distribution of fresh produce by 24% in FY 2015-16 (13 million pounds, up from 10.5 million last year). For the third year running, fresh produce is now the Food Bank's largest category of food distributed.
- This year, the Food Bank is able to distribute more than $9 worth of grocery products back into the community for every $1.00 donated -- enough to provide four meals.
- 95 cents of every dollar donated to the Food Bank (including the value of all donated food) goes directly to services in the community to help fight hunger.
- The Food Bank is one of more than 200 food banks that are members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
- In fiscal year 2015-2016, 22,056 volunteers served over 104,000 hours in support of the Food Bank mission - the equivalent of hours served by 50 full-time staff members.
Feeding America, 2016 Map the Meal Gap Study released in April 2016 reflects data collected in 2014.
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2011-2015 estimates released December 2016.