USDA: 49-million people hungry in the United States - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

USDA: 49-million people hungry in the United States

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The numbers are shocking. Nearly 50-million people in the United States are going hungry. As many of us prepare for a Thanksgiving feast, a lot of people don't know where tomorrow's meal will come from.

You've likely noticed them--people wandering the streets of Albany. Some are homeless. Some are simply hungry.

"I've worked all my life. Nobody hasn't given me anything," said Marvin Ross.

Marvin Ross is retired and he isn't without a place to live. But everyday like clockwork, he patiently waits for a hot meal from the Salvation Army. "I like it here. I enjoy eating here. I've been eating here for the past ten years," said Ross.

Ross is proof that you don't have to be homeless to be hungry.

"Our agencies have reported an increase of about 30-percent in the number of people who are seeking support," said Food Bank of Southwest Georgia President Brett Kirkland.

The Food Bank of Southwest Georgia works everyday to feed families with tough decisions to make. "Whether to pay the light bill or the food bill," said Kirkland.

The scale is powered up as the Food Bank and Cumulus Radio team up to raise thousands of pounds food for the growing number of people in need. "It's awful and it's getting worse with the state of our economy. The businesses have either closed or laid off employees. Before all this started we had 100,000 people in Southwest Georgia living in poverty," said Kirkland.

A new study by the United States Department of Agriculture finds that 49-million people struggled to put enough food on the table in 2008. That's more than one in seven households. Numbers for 2009 are expected to be worse.

"It is across the board and some pockets are worse than others and us being in an impoverished area, our numbers are going up," said Kirkland.

At least 200,000 Southwest Georgians are low-income and on the brink of going hungry at any moment. "Thanks to the Farm Bill that was passed last summer, the USDA commodities are flowing to all the food banks. That couldn't have come at a better time," said Kirkland.

The time Ross looks forward to every night is 6 o'clock. It means a consistent meal. "It helps me out pretty good," said Ross. But many continue to wander and wonder where the next bite will come from.

If you'd like to donate to the Food Bank's Can-Do drive, they'll be in the K-Mart parking lot Tuesday and Wednesday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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