Twenty-four percent of all children in the state of Texas are "at risk of hunger," says a report released yesterday by America's Second Harvest, the country's largest charitable hunger-relief organization. The report's titled Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2003 -- 2005, and it analyzes data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service; information on how the study was conducted can be found here.
But the results for the state can be found here: Out of the 6.2 million children under the age of 18 living in Texas, 1,510,966 are considered "food insecure," which means at some point during the year, they're likely to go hungry. And it's consistent with findings from the state's Center for Public Policy Priorities, which, in its State of Texas Children 2006 report, said that "the number of families earning too little to maintain an adequate diet has increased, ranking Texas first in the nation in the percentage of food-insecure households in 2004."
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In a USA Today story about the America's Second Harvest report, Jan Pruitt, chief executive officer of the North Texas Food Bank, says part of the problem can be blamed on working families trying to cope with rising costs -- for housing, gas, you name it. There's also another problem, she says: "the demonization of food stamps." --Robert Wilonsky