FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Nearly one in five people on the Treasure Coast are hungry right now and they do not know where their next meal with come from. The alarming statistic comes from the Treasure Coast Food Bank, which is trying to deal with the persistent problem.
Maria Milian, 67, cleaned up after dinner Wednesday evening. She, like too many on the Treasure Coast, did not know where that meal was going to come from. "There's many people in my situation and worse," she said. But Milian is receiving help - and receiving meals - from the Treasure Coast Food Bank. "Thanks to the food bank, I can eat from one week to the next," said Milian.
Without that crucial link to very basic foods, Milian and approximately 100,00 others - about 17 percent of the Treasure Coast population - would simply go without.
Judith Cruz is CEO of the Treasure Coast Food Bank, which serves Marin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties. "We talk about home foreclosure or losing our job very freely," said Cruz. "But we don't talk about being hungry."
Cruz said that most visitors to the food bank are able to live on their own and can pay their bills on time. To keep that up, she said, something has to go away. Too often, it can be food. "People really need to face the fact that their friends, family and neighbors are going to be hungry at night," she said.
After two years, Milian hopes that the will not need help from the food bank much longer. "I hope that the future is brighter for me," she said.
There is a similar 'food insecurity' picture in Palm Beach County, with more than 16 percent of the population suffering, according to food bank officials.
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