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Athens News Matters for November 18, 2023

On today’s program, with Thanksgiving just days away, many of us are looking forward to a big traditional meal with family and friends – but we’re the lucky ones. Far too many families and individuals in our community face food insecurity. On today’s program, we’re taking a look back at some of our coverage from this year on food insecurity in Athens.

That look back begins with this piece by Audrey Enghauser, about toll food insecurity takes on Clarke County School District students’ ability to learn and stay healthy, and how the district and the community is lending support.

Our look at food insecurity continues now with Erin Barger, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Founded in 1992, the organization serves 14 counties in the area. She spoke earlier this year to WUGA’s Alexia Ridley.

Our show this week is a deep dive into food insecurity in Athens. Over the last year, our reporters and producers have done dozens of stories on this issue, and today, as Thanksgiving approaches, we’re looking back at some of that coverage.

There are a variety of food assistance programs out there, including SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as the food stamp program. On average, 41.2 million people in 21.6 million households received monthly SNAP benefits in the 2022 fiscal year.

But how much does the average person really know about the program, who it supports, and how? To answer some of these questions, WUGA Health Desk contributor Lauren Baggett sat down with UGA researcher Grace Bagwell Adams to break down facts versus myth of the SNAP program.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!