The Ashtabula County, Ohio, SOLVE HUNGER Project: Our research found that 4,667,220 meals per year are missed in this relatively small county of just under 100,000 residents because families cannot afford them
The most northeastern county in Ohio is Ashtabula, a name that translates in the “Delaware languages” once spoken by indigenous peoples to “always enough fish to go around, to be given away.” But there is not enough fish or other healthy foods available today for those Ashtabula residents experiencing hunger.
Hunger has been an issue in parts of Ohio and elsewhere for decades. What will it take to finally solve generational hunger as well as newer, mostly undocumented hunger among the many households that struggle to put food on the table?
Imagine pairing the spirit of the name “Ashtabula” (food for all) with reliable, pinpointed data and the willpower to fix a broken system. With these forces working together, the provision of regular, nutritious meals could generate the momentum to attract new resources and more strategic and efficient use of existing ones. Thus, the name Ashtabula might then encode yet another definition: Solving hunger is possible.
Accounting for all food subsidies, food bank support, and help from friends and family, Ashtabula County residents miss a total of 4,667,220 (rounded) meals per year because they cannot afford them. This is a serious quality of life and quality of health problem. If the state of Ohio set the goal of everyone obtaining 3 meals per day, and if all residents of Ashtabula shared the meal loss equally at one time without interruption, it would mean that no one in the County would eat a single meal for 2 straight weeks. Hunger is solvable, and we are hopeful that local, statewide, and national leaders will use the data and tools in this report to take meaningful and focused action. And now Ashtabula has the data and mapping tools to begin to make that happen.
This SOLVE HUNGER report and map compendium are part of a special research project for Gray Television InvestigateTV.
InvestigateTV is Gray Television’s national investigative team, which reports on issues of concern, corruption, greed, mismanagement and fraud for digital, streaming and broadcast audiences across the United States.
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