Feeding Florida Unveils Game-Changing Meal Deficit Metric

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 Research News
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Feeding Florida, a statewide network of 12 food banks, released a new study which quantifies hunger in missing meals at an extremely localized level using the Meal Deficit Metric. The Meal Deficit Metric unveils revolutionary data and empowers the Feeding Florida network by providing a more accurate representation of resources needed in every community across Florida than has previously existed.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 10, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Feeding Florida, a statewide network of 12 food banks, released a new study today which quantifies hunger in missing meals at an extremely localized level using the Meal Deficit Metric. The Meal Deficit Metric unveils revolutionary data and empowers the Feeding Florida network by providing a more accurate representation of resources needed in every community across Florida than has previously existed. These granular data points are changing how the network directs healthy food access to families who cannot otherwise afford it. This uniquely positions food banks to meet the needs of under-resourced households on a block-by-block basis.

Historically, food banks and non-profits have relied on general statistics about countywide hunger. While useful, this data does not 1) consider all households, 2) use only Florida-specific data, and 3) net out missing meals after accounting for all food subsidies such as government feeding programs like SNAP or WIC. Past statistics also do not provide crucial geographic information so that hunger can be addressed at a very local level. This is what is needed to identify and address the true food gap.

Feeding Florida commissioned Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group to undertake the study that led to the Meal Deficit Metric. This evidence-based approach measures meals missed by families unable to afford them after exhausting all possible ways a family could access food including charitable and government support. The Meal Deficit Metric uses localized data and generates reliable scores for Census-defined block groups which are very small geographic units (the average block group in Florida covers 4.7 square miles and has 1,650 residents). Because of this, the Feeding Florida Network can now identify and address the true food gap that exists in communities across Florida.

"The Meal Deficit Metric is revolutionizing how we approach solving hunger issues," said Robin Safley, Executive Director of Feeding Florida. "We not only empower our partners to more strategically meet the needs at a hyper-local level, but also identify causal factors – ultimately allowing us to eliminate the underlying cause of hunger, which is an under resourced household."

The Meal Deficit Metric study provides data never before available. Because it looks at every household and captures those families who fall into the A.L.I.C.E. population or working poor, it reveals the number of net missing meals in Florida that is higher than previously understood:

  • There are missing meals in nearly every Census-defined block group in Florida.
  • There are almost 17 million missing meals per week throughout Florida.
  • There are more than 880 million missed meals each year throughout Florida, equivalent to each Floridian missing 41 meals per year.
"Examining hunger at a block group level allows Feeding Florida's network to develop and deploy strategic interventions that increase food and resource access," said Mari Gallagher, Principal of Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group. "As a result of the Meal Deficit Metric, network partners can now better coordinate with local resources to address the underlying causes of hunger, potentially eliminating it completely."

The Meal Deficit Metric is already being used across the state by the Feeding Florida Network. This data is reshaping how communities will address and eradicate hunger.

For more information and to download the executive summary, please visit http://www.PinpointHunger.com.

About Feeding Florida Feeding Florida is the state's leading organization in the fight to end hunger. Its statewide network unites its 12 member food banks to provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community every day. Feeding Florida member food banks support more than 2,300 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need to ensure a hunger-free Florida. Feeding Florida is a unified voice regarding hunger and focuses on each community's needs.

Feeding Florida's member food banks include: All Faiths Food Bank, America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Inc., Bread of the Mighty, Feeding Northeast Florida, Feeding South Florida, Feeding Tampa Bay, Feeding the Gulf Coast, First Step Food Bank, Florida Gateway Food Bank, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and Treasure Coast Food Bank.

About Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group (MG) is a national firm specializing in localized data, strategic information, and measurable solutions. In large part because of MG's work, millions of dollars have been invested in underserved areas across the country. MG consults on strategies that improve quality of life, community health, neighborhood market conditions, and the reduction of hunger. MG has received dozens of awards over the years, including one from Concern Worldwide, a global organization that focuses on hunger reduction. Clients and partners include grassroots community and civic organizations, government entities, foundations, small and large for-profit and non-profit ventures, healthcare systems, and major international corporations.

 

SOURCE Feeding Florida



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