Fresh and healthy foods are essential. Unfortunately, these foods are inaccessible to many people, especially rural and low-income families. The Donation Station at Community Food Initiatives (CFI) addresses the most immediate food security issue -access to healthy, fresh foods for all. We are based in Athens County, Ohio, where rates of hunger are the highest in the state. We are seeking to expand our current program to meet the needs of our community and share our model across Southeast Ohio.
Every year we see a widening gap between those who can access healthy food and those who cannot. Currently, nearly 100,000 people in Appalachian Ohio are food insecure. Athens County has the highest rate of food insecurity in Ohio; 20.4% of the population experiences limited access to food (compared to the 12% national average). CFI's Donation Station addresses both immediate food insecurity needs and strengthens our local food economy to address some of the root causes of hunger in our region.
CFI's Donation Station provides fresh, healthy foods to individuals and families who experience hunger and food insecurity in Southeast Ohio. We also address one of the root causes of food insecurity by supporting local farmers and food vendors and reinvesting in our local food economy. By increasing the amount of food we can distribute to meet growing needs and spreading this model through Southeast Ohio, we can create a local food solution that is specific to the needs of our community.
Since we launched the Donation Station in 2008, we have distributed over 500,000 pounds of local food products to food pantries and social service agencies in Southeast Ohio and reinvested $100,000 into the local food economy. By expanding this model beyond Athens County we can continue to provide individuals and families facing hunger with fresh healthy foods and decrease rates of food insecurity by supporting local farmers and food vendors.