One in six SW VA children 'food insecure,' according to Feeding America study

ROANOKE, Va. – A troubling number of Southwest Virginia children struggle to find enough food to get by every day.

Feeding America Southwest Virginia's annual study states nearly 17 percent of children in the area -- about one out of every six kids -- are "food insecure." The same study measures the general percentage of food insecurity in Southwest Virginia as 12 percent.

"It makes me sad that there's still folks that aren't getting the food they need to thrive and live the lives they want to live -- especially children," said Amanda Allen, with Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

Feeding America has instituted several programs to help reduce childhood hunger. The Feed to Read program, which the organization runs in conjunction with the Roanoke Public Library, serves more than 2,000 meals a month to children in need after school and during the summer.

"We learned that people were coming just as much for the food as they were our program," said Amber Lowery, with the Roanoke Public Library. "Summer of 2017 versus summer of 2018, we had a 70 percent increase."

Allen says childhood food insecurity is a complex problem with no easy answer.

"You can say we put 20 million pounds of food out there and it's still not enough," Allen said. "There are still folks that need our help."

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