80,000 East Texas children living at risk of hunger - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

80,000 East Texas children living at risk of hunger

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TYLER (KYTX) - More than 80,000 East Texas children live in risk of going hungry.

That's according to a new study by the group Feeding America.

Families all across East Texas are living without the essentials they need to put a meal on the table. The East Texas Food Bank and food pantries are trying to ensure that doesn't happen, that no child goes hungry.

26-year-old Blake Felts visits the First United Methodist Church food bank in Troup just about every week.

"Here lately been scratching by, places like this help us by," says Felts.

He picks up essentials for his family.

"My little brother, little brother's nephew right now, step dad just had a heart attack and my mom is a diabetic," says Felts.

"We average somewhere between 85-90 families a week," says Pastor Mike Cline.

Cline says volunteers fill bags and stock shelves for families who need the extra help to get them through the week.

The "Map the Meal Gap" study shows 1 in 4 East Texas children face an empty plate.

"This study gives us more granular information on where the need it and some other demographics like what are the challenges that they have," says Dennis Cullinane, the Executive Director with the East Texas Food Bank.

Cullinane says the county by county break down gives information on exactly where the lack of food is, which populations are experiencing it and how much food costs in a given area.

That allows the food bank to divide their resources, and develop strategies to combat the problem.

"Mobile solutions, go into those areas, establish immediate care and also work within those communities to make arrangements and develop partnerships to get new agencies up and running," says Cullinane.

Making it easier for people to get by.

"Thank God for them being here," says Felts.

That study also shows 1 in 6 Americans can't provide the food needed for their families and 1 in 4 children goes hungry.

It shows every county in the U.S. is affected by hunger.

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