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      As Africa struggles with famine, Albany residents struggle with hunger

      The famine in Africa has made world headlines, but there are hungry people here in Dougherty County, with many of them eating fewer meals or not at all.

      Betty Jackson, a pastor at the First Apostolic Church in Albany who works with Feed the Children, said she sees 20 to 30 families per week who need food. She said the benefit to being hungry in America is that people in need can get access to food.

      For Southwest Georgia at least we have some type of resources that are open to us, but in Somalia you have a problem with a war that you can't get to to feed the people that are needing the food.

      Jackson and Teleperformance Communications Group, which raised $7,200 for the event, are holding a food drive at the church on Lumpkin Street Friday where they plan to hand out 400 bags of food to the area TMs neediest.

      According to data from the government, 15.6 percent of households in Georgia are hungry, a figure that is above the national average.

      Jackson has seen sever hunger up close; she traveled to Africa in 2007, and plans to head back soon. We went to Kenya, Africa, Natalia, and some other cities there and one of the things that we did over there was we fed the children.

      Lillie Thomas, the church TMs hospitality coordinator, said the economy is the culprit for hunger in the Albany metro area. Because of the economy, and the huge unemployment rate, you have so many people who are unemployed.

      The bags of food will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.