Measurement Resources Develops Missing Meals Index for Mid-Ohio Foodbank
Mid-Ohio Foodbank (now Mid Ohio Food Collective) is a high-performing organization who has partnered with Measurement Resources to help them use measurement and evaluation to co-create healthy community where everyone thrives since 2015. Measurement Resources’ work has included organizational culture assessments, high-performance measurement frameworks, and impact evaluations.
Missing Meals Index
Measurement Resources Company partnered with Mid-Ohio Foodbank to develop a new approach for estimating the actual need for food assistance at the county level. Using the Franklin County Missing Meals Index method, a meal gap was calculated for each of the 20 counties in the Mid-Ohio Foodbank service region. Opportunities to respond to the county residents’ needs and the community’s stabilization response to those needs are illuminated through this methodology.
Key learnings about the need for food assistance in the 20-county service region include the following:
- Residents living below 200 percent of poverty in the Mid-Ohio Foodbank service region miss an estimated 165.7 million meals annually.
- In this population, the average meal gap is 4.0 meals per person, per week, or 19 percent of the total meals needed.
- Residents of the service area living below 200 percent of poverty are estimated to purchase 47 percent of their meals with earnings. Those who are eligible rely heavily on government food assistance and charitable sources to meet their nutritional needs, yet still experience a meal gap.
- Residents living below 130 percent of poverty receive more meals from government resources than they purchase with earnings. Those between 130-185 percent of poverty miss 4.7 meals per week, suggesting a modest benefits cliff effect for residents who no longer qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but have little more income to purchase food.
These findings suggest many opportunities exist to bring food assistance to food-insecure residents of the 20-county service region and close the meal gap. Using the Missing Meals Index, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and its partners can measure the meal gap over time and assess the impact of its response to hunger on those residents most in need of food assistance.