Posts Tagged ‘Alabama Food Summit’

Alabama ranked 9th in poverty statistics

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

16.6 percent of Alabamians lived in poverty last year, according to newly released 2009 US Census Data. This puts us ninth in nationwide rankings of poverty rates.

During that same time, 25.8 percent of children in Alabama lived in households below the poverty line.

The poverty threshold measures household income to determine who lives in poverty. In 2009, the poverty line was $22,050/year for a family of 4, or $10, 830 for an individual.

The numbers of people living in poverty have increased due to unemployment and the recession, says Kristina Scott, executive director of the Alabama Poverty Project. The numbers of the working poor have grown, while the middle class is shrinking.

This trend is evident in the statistics of those subsisting just above the poverty line.  23.9 percent of Alabamians live at or below 125 percent of poverty, and 30.6 percent of Alabamians live below 150 percent of poverty. This means that nearly 1 in 3 of our neighbors in 2009 made the equivalent of less than $33,075 for a household of four.

Single mothers have also struggled during the recession. A staggering 51.2 percent of single female-headed households with related children lived below the federal poverty line. 68.8 percent of single-female-headed households with children lived at only 150 percent of the poverty line during the same time.

Food banks and food assistance programs have reported a dramatic increase in first-time visitors and working families who seek aid, while applications for TANF and food stamps have increased dramatically during the recession.

At the same time, Alabama has weathered the recession better than some of our neighbors, and over the past 10 years we have made significant steps to reduce poverty.

What can you do?

Short term:

  • Support economic development efforts. Job loss is the number one factor in increasing poverty rates.
  • Advocate for policies that offer temporary assistance, as well as policies to create more jobs
  • Help struggling friends and neighbors through trying times. Strong relationships are key to rising out of poverty.
  • Donate to support local assistance programs providing immediate relief

Long term:

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Things that are possible: ending childhood hunger

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Childhood food security – image via npr.org

The Obama administration has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015. What does that mean, and how can we reach that goal? NPR’s All Things Considered recently looked at this question over a 2-part series.

Part 1:  A Daily Fight to Find Food: One Family’s Struggle

Part 2: Eating Nutritiously A Struggle When Food is Scarce

The Diane Rehm show also devoted an entire hour last week to a discussion of childhood hunger in the United States.

As the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill moves through Congress, we know that these conversations will continue to be important. We cannot forget that 13.3 percent of Alabamians lack food security, while around 5.4 percent of our neighbors have very low food security – meaning they are chronically hungry.

Want to learn more about childhood hunger and child nutrition programs in Alabama? Join us for a screening of the film Lunch Line, August 28, at the Bottle tree Cafe in Birmingham. A panel following the movie will discuss the future of school lunches and child nutrition programs. This is the Southeastern premiere of Lunch Line, so buy your tickets today!

We also invite you to come to the table for the Alabama Food Summit November 12-13 at the Birmingham BJCC, where we will discuss food security, the food system, and creating sustainable solutions to our state’s hunger problem.

Posted by Robyn Hyden

More Alabamians hungry than ever, but state struggles to administer food stamps

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Alabama has the 12th highest rate of food insecurity according to new report by the Food Research and Action Center.

And the problem is exacerbated by the state’s middling performance in getting families who are eligible for food stamps enrolled in food stamps.  According to a recent report from the USDA, Only 65 percent of Alabamians who are eligible for food assistance actually receive it.

It is easy to feel powerless in the face of a these statistics.  But we can make a difference.

That’s why Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners hosted this month’s 2009 Alabama Food Summit.   They recommend the following actions for people who are interested in improving food security in their community:

  • Visit your local Farmers Market
  • Subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
  • Ask your grocery store to stock local food
  • Donate time, food, or money to you local food banks or food rescue agencies
  • Write a letter to your Mayor, Governor, Representative or Senator showing your support of local food.
  • Talk to your child’s school about school lunches

Posted by Kristina Scott