USDA: More Missourians Go Hungry

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COLUMBIA - More food is moving out of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

"We are about nine million pounds ahead of where we were last year at this time," said Executive Director Peggy Kirkpatrick. 

And it's a good thing the food bank has more food, because more is needed.

"We've seen a 21-percent increase in the number of people we're serving," said Kirkpatrick.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that's happening across the state. Nearly 500,000 Missourians are living with very low food security. The only state with a higher percentage of its citizens living with very low food security is Arkansas at 8.1% - Missouri is at 7.6%. Kirkpatrick explains that in layman's terms a person with very low food security is someone who doesn't know where their next meal will come from. 

The report also shows Missouri is one of the bottom states when it comes to people living with food insecurity. The state is ranked 43rd in the nation with 16.7% of the population living with food insecurity - which means they don't know where some meals will come from throughout the week, but not every day. The numbers have risen since the USDA began measuring food security in 1998. The first report showed 8.6% of Missourians living with food insecurity and 2.9% of Missourians living with very low food security. Steadily, those percentages increased until they reached the all-time highs they are at today.

The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri has more than a half million pounds of food in its warehouse. Kirkpatrick estimates all that food will be gone by the end of the month.

She also said it's time for everyday citizens to step up.

"It doesn't matter what federal reports say it's what we as the citizens of Mid- Missouri wanna do about the problem and whether we want to affect change," said Kirkpatrick.

Fixing the problem that leaves thousands of Missourians hungry every day.