|Published:||Oct 12, 2012 11:34 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 13, 2012 12:00 AM EDT|
The face of hunger is changing everyday. Stereotypes no longer apply to the people who have trouble putting food on the table.
"Do I buy groceries or do I put gas in the car?" Chad Wooff.
"Do you pay your rent, or do you put food on the table?" asks Miriam Pereira with the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Those are the kinds of choices more people across Southwest Florida are having to make.
"You just hope that you can get through another day where you but back on breakfast or you cut back on lunch or dinner and before you know it, you are one of those people who needs help," says Pereria.
Help that Pereria with the Harry Chapin Food Bank says people of all ages need. In 2007, they gave away 4 million pounds of food. This year, they're expecting that demand to jump to 18-million. Their most recent partner is the FGCU food pantry.
Senior Devon Dipentima was actually part of the class that spearheaded the pantry. A survey to almost 900 students revealed more than 60 percent often skipped meals because they didn't have the money.
"I did know somebody at the time who was having trouble paying and getting food, so thankfully he knew a few friends so we all helped him out but it's not terribly uncommon sadly," she says.
That reality is just as evident in children. Chad Wooff is with Feeding Southwest Florida, an organization answering the need in the Lee County school system.
"A lot of these kids come in on Monday morning and they can't concentrate because they're haungry or they're tired because they haven't had the food that they needed over the weekend," he says.
Seventy percent of students in Lee County qualify for free or reduced lunch. With the community's help, Feeding Southwest Florida hopes to feed 4000 kids and their families in eight different schools.
"Hunger looks like you and me... the new normal is at a higher level," Pereia.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank says they serve about 30 thousand people every year.
To find out how you can help, go to feedingswfl.com
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