Thousands continue to go hungry along Treasure Coast

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Hundreds of thousands of people are going hungry in the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast, according to new data from Feeding America.

See the full breakdown here: Map the Meal Gap 2018

 "Unfortunately, there is more food insecurity than I think a lot of people are aware of," said Krista Garofalo, chief strategy and advocacy officer for Treasure Coast Food Bank.

In St. Lucie County, where Treasure Coast Food Bank's warehouse is located, 15.7 percent of the population is considered food insecure.

Some of those 46,000 people going hungry in St. Lucie County are turning to the Treasure Coast Food Bank for help.

"With low incomes that they have and it’s hard to make ends meet, so with this additional food they can assure they have food on the table for the family," said Dillie Nerios, of the Treasure Coast Food Bank, translating for clients Nancy Locano and Gabriela Carrera.

Garofalo said she thinks the recession is still affecting people.

"I think maybe there’s a lot more struggle in St. Lucie County to be able to go back to work and if they’re able to go back to work they’re not getting the hours they used to," she said.

The number of people considered to be food insecure has gone down slightly year over year, but data shows more of those people are qualifying for food stamps or other benefits.

“Even though there’s overall less people, their situation is worse," Garofalo said. "If they’re qualifying for more benefits programs that means their income is a lot less and that’s not something we want to see.”

As children are about to get out of school on summer break, Treasure Coast Food Bank is preparing 30 different sites around the area to feed 2,500 kids a day throughout the summer. They'll list those locations on their website.

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