Columbus Community Geography Center

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013

Community Partner(s)

Feeding the Valley


Columbus, GA


Columbus, Georgia, the state’s third largest city, has a population of 189,885 residents (United States Census Bureau 2010). Of this population, 18.8% are living below the poverty line. This poverty rate is 2.2% higher than the Georgia average (16.5%), and 4.5% higher than the national poverty rate (14.3%) (US Census Bureau 2010). Unemployment rates in April 2013 in Columbus were 7.9%, the rate of unemployment in the state is 8.2%, while the national rate is 7.5% (Bureau of Labor 2013). With nearly 1 in 5 Columbus residents in poverty, the federal government’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) plays an important role in supporting this vulnerable population.

One of the central institutions in the community that supports access to food is the community’s food bank, Feeding the Valley. Feeding the Valley is a repository of grocery products and non-food items. It distributes items to agencies or special programs that service the public and does not directly distribute items to the public. Feeding the Valley is affiliated with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. Babbs Douglas, Executive Director of Feeding the Valley asked the Columbus Community Geography Center to explore how accessible food pantries are to the community (city of Columbus and Muscogee County are one political unit). The goal was to better understand a city-wide overview of food accessibility for TEFAP clients. Potential clients of each food pantry need to meet the self-disclosed requirements for TEFAP.

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