ROANOKE – Food insecurity, a nationwide problem, continues to have a grasp on southwest Virginia.
The reality is many of our neighbors don't know where their next meal is coming from.
Jenny Hall, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch in Roanoke sees the need on her mail route.
“People come up to me and ask me where can they get food, do I have money I can give them and I can see they have kids with them they are just having a bad time. It does hurt to see these things happening all the time. It's every day,” Hall said.
A cause closer to her heart, she said she's even experienced the hardship firsthand growing up in a single parent home.
“The only thing I got to eat every day was school lunch and that was it. And just to know that you're going home and there's nothing. And there's nothing in the morning and it's difficult,” Hall said. “So I empathize with people facing food insecurity.”
She's far from alone. According to the latest numbers from feeding America Southwest Virginia, more than 144,000 people in our region are food insecure. That's more than 12 percent of the population. Perhaps more alarming, more than 40,000 of those are children.
Nearly 18 percent of all kids in our area don't know where their next meal is coming from.
Helping the cause, this weekend is the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Everyone in the state will be receiving a blue plastic bags in their mailbox this week. You can put non-perishable food items in them, place them on your front door step or in your mailbox and the letter carrier will pick them up on Saturday.
They will be collected around 10 a.m. on Saturday. Donations can also be made at Food Lion stores in Roanoke.