New initiative aims to end hunger in Texas by 2015
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Even though the state economy is on the rebound, studies show that nearly twenty percent of Texans still go hungry or are “food insecure.”
"If we don't address food insecurity, if we don't address poverty, we're in for a really dark future," Jeremy Everett, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, said.
Everett’s group, the Texas Hunger Initiative, has made it their goad to end food insecurity in the Lone Star State within three years. They say that collaboration is key and have brought together public and private organizations together to fight hunger.
"Seventeen million kids potentially going home throughout the year and not having food in their refrigerator or food in their pantry — that's just a tragedy," Kori Reed with ConAgra Foods said. "You have people that are working jobs, trying to do everything they can to provide for their family, like many of us would, and just not being able to do that."
Millions of dollars are available through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP), but not enough people apply.
"If all of the people that could qualify in this community took advantage of SNAP benefits, we would bring millions of dollars into this community," Mike Beheler with the McLennan County Hunger Coalition said.
Most of the children receiving food assistance have working parents which still struggle to make ends meet.
"Some of them are even right next door. Some of them are embarrassed to go take advantage of these programs," Beheler said.
However, some progress has been made.
"We're serving more meals to kids in the summer than we've ever served before,” Everett said. “This year, we're going to serve fifteen million more breakfasts than we served last year."
The Texas Hunger Initiative has the goal of ending all hunger and food insecurity in Texas by 2015.
You can learn more or even get involved at TexasHunger.org.