Food Banks Report Growing Number of Hungry Kids

8/25/2011 1:34:44 AM

(St. Joseph, Mo.) For the past five years, Janice and her family have fought to put food on the table.

With one working parent and three kids, that hasn't always been easy.

"Married with three kids and sometimes it's a struggle trying to make it from one week to the next and one paycheck to the next," Janice said. "It's nice to know there's somewhere you can go to help stretch what you already have to make it work."

Second Harvest Community Food Bank in St. Joseph has been that "somewhere to go" for Janice and thousands of others in the Midland Empire.

Rachel tries to make do for her and her children, but her husband's solo income doesn't always meet their needs. So, they have also turned to Second Harvest.

Rachel says, "At times yes, at other times we can sometimes manage without. But there are times when it gets hard, it's what we do week to week at times."

This is the new face of hunger, what some describe as the working poor.

Second Harvest Executive Director, Dave Davenport, is new to St. Joseph.

However, he is learning just how dire the situation is for those in need.

"It really is families, its children, more often than not at least one working, employed member," Davenport said. "The number continues to grow at a rapid, rapid rate."

A recent study by Feeding America revealed that 20%-31%of children in Second Harvest's 19 county service area is food insecure. That includes counties in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas.

In Buchanan County, 26.3% of nearly 5,500 children are without food, which adds up to more than 1,400 kids. Statewide, 25% of the population less than 18-years-old is food insecure.

"My kids eating, getting what they need, proper nutrition, getting taken care of," Rachel said. "If we didn't have some kind of assistance out there to help with it, then I don't know what they'd do."

While the picture of need is clear, the solution is still blurred by uncertainty.

As little as $10 can help feed a child for nearly an entire month.

ABC News will launch a text-to-donate program for all inspired to help those in need.

If viewers text "F-E-E-D" (3-3-3-3) to 50555 a $10 donation will be given to Feeding America a leading domestic hunger relief organization, to help get food to children and families in communities across the country.

Plus, viewers can go to ABC News to find additional ways to help.

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