Survey: 1 in 5 Use Food Pantries to Feed Family

Published 08/20 2014 04:47PM

Updated 08/20 2014 05:12PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A recent survey from Feeding America shows that 60,000 people in Northwest Missouri and Eastern Kansas struggle to put food on the table.

Candace Moon is one of dozens who visits the food bank at Second Harvest. Moon works as a caregiver and comes several times a week to get food for her clients. "They can't get out of their house and get about so I come down here daily," added Moon.

The number of people  in the community who rely on Second Harvest for assistance is increasing. 72% of people who visit the food agency fall at or below the federal poverty level. Second Harvest says they serve 1,500 families a week and that number seems to be growing.

"More and more people are reaching out to say, I need something," stated Chad Higdon, executive director of Second Harvest.

Many of those who fall under that umbrella often times make tough choices to keep food on the table .

Rita Smith said she'd only visited the pantry twice but plans to go more in the future, "It helps feed my kids. Helps with the family that's in need," added Smith.

30% of patrons are also diabetic, which is why the non-profit is focusing more on providing fresh produce. "The more we can do to get access to fresh healthy nutrition food to those we're serving I think really does a lot to help," stated Higdon.

The agency plans to continue to work with and for the community to solve hunger in the area.

"When you look at the social services that are available, we're all trying to see how we can take a piece of that or take a chunk of that and do the best we can with that," said Higdon.

In addition to Backpack Buddies, Second Harvest has started a new program, Kate's Cafe, to provide after-school meals for children.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.