New Area Hunger Statistics Released

      Salem, VA - Feeding America Southwest Virginia has released new statistics highlighting much of the area's hunger issues. The data comes from the annual "Map the Meal Gap" study.The report shows those considered food insecure went up slightly to 151,000 people from 147,000 the year before.Area percentage leader, Martinsville, saw their rate drop 1.7 percent to 24.3% with Danville's dropping 1.4 percent to 21.7%.Notable rises occurred in Salem which increased 1.4% to 11.2% and Roanoke County increased .08% to 8.3%.The food bank's executive director says the rise continues to be fueled by unemployment and knowing this data can help them better use their resources."It can tell us about the shift in our communities and really get to individuals at the individual level that's lost their job," said Pamela Irvine.The study goes on to say that those who are considered food insecure come up on average 16 dollars short per week.That translates to six meals.