Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Through The PB&J Fund’s programs, we are working to ensure that children in Charlottesville aren’t hungry and have the nutrition they need to learn, grow and thrive.
The PB&J Fund believes in food justice, the practice and process of considering food as a basic human right. When food justice is established, we are assured that the safe and fair production, the equitable and responsible distribution, and the independent and informed preparation of fresh, nutritious and culturally appropriate food exists for all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, age, nationality, gender, or zip code. We can and must do more to ensure that ALL members of the Charlottesville community have reliable access to affordable, healthy food!
We are proud members of the Charlottesville Food Justice Network (link to: https://www.cvillefoodjustice.org) and are working with our community partners to achieve a food secure city. We recognize the need to confront the intersection of factors that have led to unequal food access, poverty and health outcomes in Charlottesville. Despite the efforts of many organizations and agencies working to find solutions to the epidemic of diet-related disease and for hunger alleviation, the rate of food insecurity in Charlottesville has not declined. In Charlottesville, 17.5% or 1 in 6 residents face food insecurity, a trend that outpaces Virginia’s average of 11.9%.1 In Charlottesville City schools, more than 57% of the student population is eligible to receive Free & Reduced Meals; and in some neighborhoods, this number runs as high as 85%.2
People with low economic resources and people of color suffer disproportionately higher rates of diet-related diseases and subsequent mortality.3 The prevalence of obesity among black Virginians is 39.2%, nearly 1.5 times greater than white Virginians.4 In Charlottesville, nearly 37% of third and fifth-graders are classified as overweight or obese, however this number is 49% for African American youth.5 We recognize that many of these children live in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The PB&J Fund’s programs are one small solution to this problem but we recognize that larger systems and policy changes must be implemented to achieve true food justice.
1Charlottesville Loaves and Fishes Pantry, “About Hunger.”
2Virginia Department of Education: Office of School Nutrition Programs, “School Year 2012-2013 National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Free and Reduced Lunch Price Eligibility Report, School Level.”
3Bingham, Shantell. Charlottesville Food Justice Network. White Paper on Building a Healthy and Just Local Food System.
4Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “Virginia State Obesity Data, Rates and Trends: The State of Obesity.”
5Community Action on Obesity TEST, “Obesity and Overweight in Charlottesville & Albemarle.”