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One in Five Mississippians Is Food Insecure

By Daniel Cherry | Published 06 Sep 2012 06:19pm | comments
Every day in Mississippi it's estimated about 600 thousand residents aren't always sure where their next meal is coming from. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how Mississippians are among the most affected by food insecurity.
A recent report from the U-S Department of Agriculture says about one in five Mississippians suffer from food insecurity. Seven percent of those reported skipping meals or not eating for a day due to lack of money to buy food. Marilyn Blackledge with the Mississippi Food Network isn't surprised by the numbers.
"We've seen a huge increase in the last 4-5 years on the number of people that we're serving because gasoline goes up, food goes up, wages aren't going up."
The Mississippi Department of Human Services says usage of SNAP, better known as food stamps, has risen to 660 thousand people that's up more than 200 thousand from this time four years ago. In a video obtained from the Food Network, Debra Swanner, who relies on a food bank in the Jackson area, explains how for even those receiving nutrition assistance from the state, that's often not enough.
"I have two disabled boys who I have to take care of. I need food and SNAP benefits just aren't enough. We didn't even know one time if we had a place to live. With their help and food we survived."
Those hardest hit by food insecurity are single parent, minority households. Marilyn Blackledge with the Mississippi Food Network says many of the families they serve are working people who just can't make enough money to get by.
"There are actually people out there that aren't getting those government programs. They maybe make just a little too much money to qualify for food stamps, but they don't really make enough to be able to feed their family."
While usage of government nutrition programs and food banks continues to climb, the slow economy has many pulling back on donations. Food banks ask Mississippians to continue to give even during these tough times.




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