MISSOURI— Even as our economy seems to be making a bounce back from harder times, hunger rates seem to have plateaued while the states national rating for low and very low food security is positioned in an alarming ranking. Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson speak with the Communications Manager for Feeding Missouri, Monica
Food security is a topic a lot of people don’t think to discuss. We hear about poverty, terrorism, Powerball winnings, and political tiffs; however the thought of how someone eats within the walls of their own home isn’t a common talking point. Feeding Missouri, a partner state agency to all six Missouri food banks, is hoping to change the prevalence of the topic.
During her interview with KMZU, Communications Manager for Feeding Missouri, Monica Palmer, said current numbers are alarming .
Missouri is ranked 7th for low food security and just 2nd for very low food security. The very low category means some parents could be skipping meals to make sure their children eat, rationing servings to stretch dishes to another meal, or watering down milk to make it last until the next pay day. Palmer explained that this issue is not going to solve itself; it will need to be given a voice.
“We’re going to have to really address the problem from all angles and using all of our partners and some private and public working together to address this,” said Palmer, “So, we can feed people today, that’s what food banks are doing, that’s what we pride ourselves on doing is making sure people aren’t starving but as far as the epidemic or the larger societal problem of hunger and poverty, this is something that everybody is going to have to wake up and say… we need to do something.”
Reasons vary on why the struggle remains so hard for so many. Some people are under employed, working for wages much lower than what they made before the recession, or piecing together part time positions for a decent check. For some it’s something like grandparents taking care of grandchildren or disabilities limiting work.
No matter the reasoning, the statistics show a harsh reality; people within your community could be going hungry on a daily basis and you are most likely unaware there is a problem at all.
“Truly food insecure people aren’t broadcasting it,” Palmer explains, “They’re not walking around saying, ‘I’m hungry, feed me.’ It’s a shame; it’s a stigma thing that they’re trying to hide. So if the person who has the person is hiding it and the people who are addressing the problem are feeding them discreetly, the rest of us don’t know. So, it’s a very invisible and hidden problem that is going on right here and the first step to ending it is acknowledging that it is a problem.”
To learn more about how you can help in this progressing problem, visit feedingmissouri.org.