Updated: Oct 5
Approximately 40% of the Knox County, Ohio population (61,000 people) are considered the working poor. A large percentage of the population are employed and work hard, yet still face food insecurity.
By 2020, it is anticipated that over 25% of the Knox County population will be over age 60. The aging population is particularly vulnerable, especially those who live in rural areas or who have limited mobility. Some must choose between spending money on food or medical necessities.
58.4% of Knox County children are living in households receiving some kind of benefit such as: SSI, SNAP, WIC, or other public assistance. No child should ever have to worry about where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity in childhood creates a chain of impact that can last a lifetime. When a child's basic needs are not consistently met, they become vulnerable to future health issues and other challenges.
Approximately 13.5% of the population lives in poverty. Existing nonprofit emergency support services currently help, on average, 10% or less of the population each month.
There are several food pantries and meal services, but most are located in the city of Mount Vernon and are not easily accessible to those in rural parts of the county.
Emergency Food Services are designed to address short-term urgent situations, yet many households rely on these resources every month in order to meet their basic needs and they do not see any solution for their situation. Nonprofit leaders in the county report that many families utilize services to support their ongoing needs for years and even across multiple generations.
Over 5,500 people receive SNAP benefits in Knox County, but there are only 26 eligible SNAP retail or grocery vendors. Many of these vendors have limited fresh or healthy food or have limited seasonal availability. In rural areas, these are often gas stations or other convenience stores where the price for basic necessities like milk is very high.
The following food map depicts county food resources by type. It is important to note that several of the retail locations listed are convenience stores or gas stations. Note, some of the locations listed on this map have closed in recent years, leaving limited resources available for the more rural areas of the county.