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More Than a Million Missourians Go Hungry

Food pantries pick up the slack when low income families can't qualify for federal help. (USDA)
Food pantries pick up the slack when low income families can't qualify for federal help. (USDA)
May 2, 2016

ST. LOUIS – More than a million people in Missouri are going hungry.

The food bank network Feeding America's "Map the Meal Gap" report for 2016 is out, and it says almost 17 percent of the people who live in the state are food insecure, and it would take about a $500 million to meet everyone's food needs.

There are six food banks in Missouri and Sarah Biles, director of communications for Harvesters, The Community Food Network, says a lot of people are unaware that there are so many people who don't have enough to eat.

"In this country, that we think of as the land of opportunity, and the land of plenty, there are people out there who on a daily basis or every few days or at the end of the month or whenever that may be, may not know where their next meal is coming from," she points out.

About a third of the people who face food insecurity issues make too much money to qualify for federal assistance programs.

Biles says that's when the food banks have to step up to the plate and provide them with enough to get through the month.

Biles says there's never quite enough to go around.

"Even though the economy in the last few years has shown signs of improvement it really hasn't trickled down to that lower level,” she states.

“People may have gotten jobs that didn't have jobs, but those jobs aren't the same as they used to be, they're not paying as much or they're part-time jobs, and with food prices so high it's still a challenge to make ends meet."

More than 48 million people in the United States are considered food insecure. Feeding America says it would cost more than 24 billion dollars to feed them all.

Feeding America’s report breaks the hunger issue down county by county. In Missouri, the city of St. Louis and Nodaway County have the highest food insecurity rates.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO