Communities grapple with rising food insecurity rates

Local News

POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) – According to the U.S. Hunger Relief Organization, one in four kids in the state of Georgia will live in a food insecure household due to the pandemic. WSAV spoke with some local organizations who say we have to contineu to support the people who can’t afford to feed themselves or their families.

Poverty and unemployment are some of the main contributors to hunger. More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, families are still struggling to get by.

“We know a lot of people are struggling in many different ways. Many who are already having a challenging time and the situation made it worse, and many who’ve never found themselves in a place of need; and so this is an opportunity through the Farmers to Families program where they’re offering free food to distribute to your community. We’ve partnered with the City of Pooler and many other organizations to hand out 1,600 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to our community,” Karla Italiano the President of the Pooler Lions Club, said at a community food drive on Saturday.

Hundreds of families drove through the double-line to get free boxes of produce to meet their immediate needs or to take supplies to others.

“It’s not limited to the residents of the city of Pooler or even Chatham County. We aren’t gong to turn anybody away, because they need to put food on the table,” Pooler Councilman Aaron Higgins said as police, volunteers, city officials, and other organizations passed out boxes.

“We all come from different walks of life. Some people have lost their jobs, some people have been cut back, some have not really had much of a change other than working from home; as a Mayor and City Council we can’t know what everyone’s needs are but what we can do is reach out and find programs like these that we can do,” Pooler Councilwoman Karen Williams, added.

Italiano said the organization plans to host monthly events to help address community needs.

“I think it’s important to step out when someone feels a need, when you feel a need. I’ve had times when I’ve felt a need; to know there’s a community around you, supporting you. I think we need that in our time more than ever before,” Italiano stated.

Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton said she wants community members to know they have support from their elected officials: “We are there for them, and anything we can do to help, we will.”

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