Martinsville, VA - According to a new study by Feeding America, Martinsville has the highest rate in our area of families who don't know where their next meal is coming from.In Virginia, the food insecurity rate is just over 12%, much lower than local Southside averages.Henry County resident Gloria Cabiness occasionally does her grocery shopping at Grace Network. There aren't any cash registers and the selection is slim, but it certainly helps her make it through the week.
"I struggle from time to time," said Cabiness.
Places like Grace Network in Martinsville provide food and assistance to those in need. Cabiness says without them, she would have some tough decisions between food on her plate or bills being paid.
"It's just a battle but you have to do the best you can," said Cabiness.
According to Feeding America's recent study, many Southside residents also have financial struggles. The data looks at food insecurity rates. The information means people who do not always have access to every meal.
According to recent data, food insecurity in Henry County sits at 16%. Danville has more than 23%. And Martinsville ranks the highest in our area at 26%.
"It's just heartbreaking," said Donna Proctor, executive director of Grace Network.
The numbers don't shock Proctor.
"You would expect that in an underdeveloped country, not a wealthy country like this one," said Proctor.
Proctor says they've increased the number of households serviced since last year. She suspects the high unemployment rate can be to blame.
"The people who are in need are in deeper need," said Proctor.
Proctor hopes these statistics drop soon and more people can get back on their feet.
Food insecurity doesn't just hurt adults. In fact, children in our area are at risk too. The data says Martinsville ranks the highest at 28%. That compares to Virginia's average of 16.5%.