You may not be aware of it, but our region has a big problem. Here’s a look at some of the facts:
- Our region falls in the top ten communities in America in both food hardship and suburban poverty. Obviously, this is not a measure we want to be a leader in.
- Seven out of ten children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. In other words, more than half of our kids are not fully prepared to learn when they come to school because they’re hungry.
- 33 percent of families in our community are struggling to provide food for their households.
- 17.7 percent of households without children— many of them senior citizens— face the same struggle.
The reality of the situation is that many of these families are having to choose between paying for food and paying for their healthcare needs. According to Feeding America, 34 percent of all those assisted by the organization face this exact hardship.
Fortunately for us, we are a close-knit group of people who know how to come together and be a part of the solution. I encourage you to read the article in this edition on page 14 about how Agape Food Bank, along with volunteers and partner organizations, are working to turn this crisis around. You should also read the extensive Affordable Care Act (ACA) Update on page 26. It’s written from a local perspective and addresses how the ACA and the health insurance marketplace is affecting people right here in our hometown. Thanks for reading Central Florida Health News magazine, and thanks for taking the time to learn how we are working to change our community for the better.