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      Hunger at Home: 33,000 Panhandle children don't have enough food

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      By: Matt Hamilton

      The fight against food insecurity in kids has come to the forefront in America.

      A network of 200 food banks called "Feed America" released an eye-opening study Wednesday.

      The "Map the Meal" study shows that one in four American children have food insecurities, meaning there is no consistent access to enough nutritious food for them to live a healthy life, but a few local organizations have teamed up to fight this battle.

      "It's good to know that we have something to eat up here and that we won't be starving through the rest of the day after we get out of school," said 12 year old Jordan Harris who goes to the Maverick Boys and Girls Club every day after school.

      He is one of the more than 1,000 kids that Kids Cafe feeds every day.

      "We're trying to meet the needs of a child that might not have a meal when they go home from school," said Kids Cafe Director, Leigh Fuller.

      That is just a drop in the bucket in the efforts that need to be made to help feed the one in four "food insecure" children in the Panhandle.

      "We found over 33,000 children out of 124,000 in the Texas Panhandle are considered food insecure," said High Plains Food Bank Director, Zack Wilson.

      That number includes 10,000 in Potter County alone and without programs like the High Plains Food Bank and Kids Cafe, Maverick Club Executive Director Vic Allcorn says, the Maverick wouldn't be able to provide its services.

      "For a lot of the kids that we work with they may not have an evening meal when they go home, some do, but others don't have an evening meal to go to and Kids Cafe makes it possible for them to have a nice hot meal before they go home."

      Without stating the obvious importance of making sure young children get a nutritious meal, Wilson says a lack of food also affects hungry kids in the classroom.

      "When children go to school with empty stomachs, it's hard to focus, there can be some behavioral issues and it can really take a toll on everyday life."

      Wilson asks that you join their fight and donate or volunteer with the High Plains Food Bank or Kids Cafe.

      According to ABC News, with the uncertainty of our nation's economy right now, the numbers reflected in the study are only growing every day.

      It's a staggering statistic.

      33,490 children in the Texas Panhandle are food insecure.

      That means 27 percent of the children in the area have a lack of access to enough food to be active.

      Read more 1 in 4 American Children are Malnourished How you can help Hunger and Children in America: a Slow and Steady Starvation

      This statistic is one of the alarming findings in a new study to be released Thursday by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks.

      The study, called "Map the Meal Child Food Insecurity" also concluded one in four children in the United States is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.

      According to ABC News, the numbers are only growing with the present uncertain economy.

      As for the consequences of food insecurity and malnutrition: It can significantly affect the cognitive development amoung young children and for older children, it can affect school performance. Additionally, it can mean more frequent sickness and higher healthcare costs.

      Food insecurity refers to the USDA TMs measure of lack of access " at times " to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods," the High Plains Food Bank said. "Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time (for example, it could be several weeks out of the entire year). Food insecurity may reflect a household TMs need to make trade-offs between important basic needs such as housing or medical bills and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

      The area, shown below, has 124,127 children in it. That's people 18 years old and younger.

      How can I help?Did you know that as little as $10 can help feed a child for an entire month?Donate to the High Plains Food Bank. Click here to donate.ABC News has also launched a text-to-donate program. You can text F-E-E-D (3-3-3-3) to 50555 and 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.

      $10.00 donation to Feeding America. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 50555 to STOP. Text HELP to 50555 for HELP. Full Terms: .

      Pronews 7 is continuing its coverage on this crucial issue and will feature a full report on Pronews 7 at 10.