According to AARP Virginia, nearly a million people in the state are at risk of going hungry on any given day. A new study is revealing even more about hunger and who it’s affecting most, including many over the age of 50.
More than 143,000 Virginians age 55 and older live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of people needing help in Virginia has jumped 54 percent since 2006, according to Federation of Virginia Food Banks statistics.
AARP Virginia hosted the Older Adult Hunger Summit at Richmond’s Crowne Plaza Hotel Thursday morning. It brought together leaders in the civic, faith, non-profit and private sectors. They went over the survey that found a majority of people in Virginia have donated food or money to a food charity or given it to someone directly in need, but there are still so many at risk. Many adult Virginians have experienced anxiety about hunger, not having enough money to feed themselves or their families.
These leaders at the summit will try to raise awareness of the problem, try to get more community groups involved, and press Virginia’s General Assembly to help. Pamela Irvine with Feeding America Southwest Virginia says it’s sometimes the poorest counties that get the least help in fighting hunger.
“Some of the localities, they’re struggling with funding right now”, said Irvine. “So state funding would certainly help us put food on the table for those individuals that are at higher risk.”
September is Hunger Action Month. Feeding America Southwest Virginia is asking people, businesses, civic organizations, elected officials, and congregations to wear orange to show their support for hunger awareness. Gov. Bob McDonnell hosted a go orange event at the executive mansion this past Tuesday.
If you’d like to help hungry families in communities across the state, you can do so next week during the AARP Community Food Drive. More than 250 food collection sites will take donations September 9th-15th to help replenish food banks and food pantries.