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Number Of Missouri Households Going Hungry On The Rise

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the number of Missouri households threatened by hunger has grown over the past three years.

While the national average shows 14.7 percent of American homes had low or very low food security between 2010 and 2012, Missouri's average is 16.7 percent, or about one out of six households.  That's up from 15 percent during the 2007-2009 survey period.  Glenn Koenen is Hunger Task Force Chair for the Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

"We're not making any progress," Koenen said.  "We're seeing more and more people who need to go to food pantries, (who) need food stamps and other help -- and whereas in some parts of the country things are getting a very little bit better, in Missouri things are still getting worse."

Koenen says in light of the growing number of hungry Missourians, it's crucial for Congress to pass a federal farm bill that includes funding for food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

"SNAP funds are probably the largest single source of income to grocery stores, when you think about it, because one person in six (in Missouri), one person in seven (nationally), is using SNAP to buy the biggest part of their food budget," Koenen said.

The Republican-led U.S. House and Democrat-led U.S. Senate have yet to agree on a new farm bill.  The version passed by the House in July would cut $40 billion in SNAP funding.

The entire household food security report can be found here.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.