Poverty & Hunger in Rural vs. Urban America

According to the US Census, rural America makes up 97% of the land mass of our nation. From these areas come vital national resources, including food and energy products. With its seeming abundance, it’s ironic, then, that food insecurity and poverty here tend to outpace urban poverty.

When you think about under-resourced communities in America, most likely your mind swells with images of densely populated cities. Statistically, though, rates of poverty are higher in small towns than that in metropolitan areas. While poverty exists in all communities, there are unique challenges to combating rural hunger and poverty.

In this blog post, you will discover challenges related to rural poverty, how these create a desperate need for tailored hunger intervention, and how Feed the Need Missions is responding to these unique rural needs.

What Causes Increased Poverty & Hunger in Rural Areas?

Rural communities make up 87% of the counties with the highest rates of overall food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of consistent access to enough food to sustain a healthy, active life. Also, childhood poverty is much higher in rural areas than in urban cities. What makes these communities particularly vulnerable?

According to PBS, a few common challenges of rural communities include:

  • Employed individuals make less money
  • Rural areas are not experiencing increased job opportunities
  • Disabilities are more common in rural areas

Another important consideration is the lack of convenient access to goods, services, programs and resources that bigger cities enjoy. In small towns, residences, businesses, and yes, grocery stores, tend to be more spread out and sparse. Twenty percent of rural counties in the United States are considered “rural food deserts,” which means a minimum of ten miles must be travelled to reach the nearest market or grocery store, whereas, in urban areas, food deserts are classified for those who need travel only a mile.

How Can We Reduce Rural Poverty & Hunger?

What is becoming evident is that many hard-working families in these rural communities simply cannot reach the life-sustaining resources they need on a consistent basis. Successful intervention must involve bringing the food and resources directly to the community on a regular basis. This is precisely what Feed the Need Missions, a Bastrop, Texas based nonprofit organization, endeavors to do.

Feed the Need Missions harnesses and empowers volunteers, businesses and churches in rural communities to come together to serve and support site locations in their own communities. Currently, we serve nine unique site locations in North and Central Texas, and we are poised for continued expansion throughout Texas and beyond.

These site locations utilize trailers equipped with food and meal prep supplies each week to prepare and serve hot meals to anyone who drives or walks up, free of charge. There is also ample opportunity for much needed bridge building to community resources, emotional support and spiritual guidance for guests. Additional efforts include an annual Gobble Kits campaign, which provides free Thanksgiving Dinner kits (complete with turkeys) to families who sign up in advance.

Help Feed Children & Families in Rural Communities

A simple donation of $20 per month allows Feed the Need Missions to serve 10 people in these communities. When you commit to giving monthly, you are not only providing people in our communities with a meal they can rely on, you are giving them opportunities to learn about the hope and love of Christ. Join us as we bring relief to hardworking families and children in these rural communities. Visit our website to learn more and donate today.

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