Southerners lead in number of Americans going hungry

Southerners struggle to feed families. / Jessica Fairley

In a study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, statistics show 49 million Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

Although the survey says numbers could have been worse, one in six Americans are still missing out on meals and the majority of those individuals live in the south.

Mississippi leads the way at 19.4 percent but Georgia isn't far behind, ranging in the 16th percentile.

"We were already into this situation that other people are getting to, so we're being pushed even further down and I think that's why it seems to be affecting the south more than it's affecting other people," says Salvation Army Corps Officer Doug McClure.

Captain McClure says the proof is in the figures. Two years ago Albany's branch of the organization served 11,000 meals and now that number has now tripled to 35,000.

"We have a lot of families needing assistance," says McClure.

He sees both employed and unemployed struggling to put food on the table.

Those with the Albany Rescue Mission say their numbers for people seeking help are also on the climb. Serving about 7,500 meals a month and issuing out food bags is becoming a struggle.

"It's been quite a large increase in the last year or so," says Albany Rescue Mission Founder and Director Larry Hample.

The organizations aren't only trying to help families get by, they hoping to provide proper nutrition as well.

"We try to keep the protein high. We try to make sure we have some kind of peanut butter, some kind of protein because those things will really help you, especially when it gets colder," says Doug McClure.

The Salvation Army and Albany Rescue Mission both plan to hold a drive in November to make up for the food shortage but they're hoping people will pitch in before then.

"Rice is great. Beans are great, and soup. We also take cash donations," explains McClure.

Although census numbers stack up against the south, he's hoping residents remember their southern hospitality and help out a neighbor.

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