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      Startling food insecurity numbers show a dire need in Texas Panhandle

      A new study is out shining light on how dire the need for help is in the fight against hunger.

      It says over 72,000 people suffer from food insecurity in the Texas Panhandle. Meaning, they don't know when and where their next meal will be.

      The charity "Feeding America" has released a new study called, "Map the Meal Gap". It helps food banks across the country target areas where they're most needed.

      For the High Plains Food Bank, it shows 15.7% of the people in 29 counties suffer from food insecurity, that equals out to 72,500 people.

      The top three are Hall, Hardeman, and Potter Counties.

      "Food insecurity means pretty much there isn't a steady follow of food coming in or families don't know where their next meal is going to come from. There's not a steady flow of food or access to food," Zack Wilson, High Plains Food Bank Executive Director.

      April was a very busy month for the food bank. It distributed close to 740,000 lbs. of food. Wilson says that shows the need and the Panhandle Spirit of giving, because their shelves are staying stocked.

      "We've had a lot of access to a lot more food this year through produce and through donated food items that we distributed 2.5 million pounds of food this year through April," said Wilson.

      So now he says, the food bank wants to reach out and keep the public informed.

      "To help counter this, we're trying to launch a more fresh produce incentive in getting more fresh produce and more fresh product into the food bank and out-the-doors. Get awareness out to all of our counties pretty much what the study means and what it means for their communities because if you don't know what's going on, even next door to you, then your desire to help is low," said Wilson.

      An incentive to win the fight against hunger in our area.

      Wilson says a lot of that fresh produce comes from their community garden. Besides donations, they're always looking for volunteers.