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      25% of Children in the Texas Panhandle Sometimes Go Hungry

      Food insecurity remains an issue here in the high plains.

      A study released today shows that almost 16 percent of people in the area that the High Plains Food Bank covers suffer uncertain access to enough food. The results from the annual Map the Meal Gap, a nationwide study conducted by Feeding America, shows that many in our region don??t know where their next meal is going to come from.

      The High Plains Food Bank, which services a 29 county area in the panhandle, said that more than 32,000 children suffer from food insecurity. This means that one out of every four children in the region is at risk for going hungry at certain times.

      ??Food insecurity is basically defined as not enough access to food for a healthy, active lifestyle, so it could be something that could happen two weeks out of the year or it could be an ongoing monthly thing which we see a lot of in our service area,?? said Zach Wilson from the High Plains Food Bank.

      Hall County continues to suffer the highest food insecurity rate, at 20.1 percent of the population. Potter County has the highest number of food insecure persons at more than 22,000 people.

      The nationwide study conducted for map the meal gap revealed that poverty continues to biggest determinant of consistent food access.

      Feeding America is the parent organization of the High Plains Food Bank which distributes seven million pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. The food bank does distribute some of the food directly through mobile food pantries, but it distribution network spans 165 charitable agencies and churches that have food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and after school programs. One of these organizations is the Washington Street Family Service Center.

      ??We've seen an increase in all areas; single mothers, elderly, even just two member households," said Darnell Wassinger from the Washington Street Family Service Center. ??It's just people who are having tough times with their paychecks, not going up, but their food bill is, and so they need more help.??

      If you shop at a United Family store, which includes Market Street, Amigos, or United, you will have the opportunity to contribute through the General Mills?? ??Outnumber Hunger?? promotion. If you purchase specially marked General Mills?? products at these stores through May 18, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo.