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IN THE WORKS: Share your stories of food insecurity

Friday, November 1, 2013 | 1:47 p.m. CDT

Missourian reporter Andrew Brown wants to hear about the experiences that you or people you know have dealt with in not being able to afford food. If you have stories you want to share, you can contact Andrew at abrown81489@gmail.com.

COLUMBIA — According to a study — Missouri Hunger Atlas — released by MU in September, more than 16 percent of households in Missouri are now food-insecure, an increase of 8 percent from the 1990s. This places Missouri either first or second in the nation in the growth of food uncertainty, said Sandy Rikoon, the lead researcher of the Missouri Hunger Atlas.

Across the country, an estimated 14.5 percent of American households are food insecure, and the number could soon jump even higher.

On Friday, funding for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food stamps — was cut. This could cause the average household of four receiving food assistance to lose $36 a month, a significant amount for families that are already struggling to afford food. The loss in funding is the result of money from the 2009 federal stimulus — American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — running out.

Rikoon said the number of food-insecure families in Missouri and across the U.S. could increase dramatically as a result of the cuts.

We would like to tell the story of how families in Columbia and Boone County have dealt with food insecurity and hunger.

In order to do so, we are asking readers to:

  • Tell us why you or someone you know has found themselves in need of food assistance. There are many reasons. Some people have lost jobs, others are unable to pay medical bills and many suffer from physical or mental disabilities. And the reasons don’t stop there.
  • Tell us how not being able to afford food has affected you or someone you know. Have you had to ration food, go without needed medication, stop heating your home during the winter or work through a disability?
  • Tell us your success stories. Have you or someone you know needed food assistance in the past and since been able to make it without food assistance?

We need your help to tell the story, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the above issues or other questions you think need to be answered. Your responses could be posted as part of Andrew Brown’s upcoming series on food insecurity in Missouri.

If you’d like to share your experiences, please contact Andrew at abrown81489@gmail.com or call the newsroom at 882-5720 and leave a message for Andrew Brown. Please include your name, email address and phone number and whether you'd be willing to be contacted as a possible source for the project.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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