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New Study Changes Perceptions About Hunger In Missouri

PHOTO: Missouri food banks serve nearly 1.2 million people each year, according to a new study from Feeding America and the Missouri Food Bank Association. Photo courtesy of Missouri Food Bank Association.
PHOTO: Missouri food banks serve nearly 1.2 million people each year, according to a new study from Feeding America and the Missouri Food Bank Association. Photo courtesy of Missouri Food Bank Association.
August 19, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The face of hunger in Missouri may not be what many picture it to be, according to a new study which aims to show just how deep the problem runs in the state.

Monica Palmer, communications manager with the Missouri Food Bank Association, says the Hunger in America report breaks many stereotypes and misconceptions about who is forced to rely on food pantries, soup kitchens and food banks.

"These are people who are working jobs, have kids in schools," says Palmer. "Some of them are military vets or people serving in the military."

According to details at the Feeding Missouri website, nearly one-in-five Missourians, out of a total state population of 1.2 million, use food-bank programs each year. More information is at "FeedingMissouri.org."

Palmer says the study also highlights the difficult choices many of those who turn to food pantries are forced to make.

"It reveals the choices people have to make between paying your rent or your mortgage, or paying for education," says Palmer. "Or paying for transportation to get to a job you're making a horrible wage at, but you've still got to keep in order to keep something on the table."

According to the survey, 70 percent of Missourians who use food-bank programs are white, 20 percent are black and three percent are Hispanic. Nearly all of the food-partner programs across the state report they've seen an increase in clients over the past year.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO