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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The children going hungry in America

Child poverty in the US has reached record levels, with almost 17 million children now affected. A growing number are also going hungry on a daily basis.

Kaylie and Tyler talk about what it is like to be poor in America - and to sometimes go hungry.

Food is never far from the thoughts of 10-year-old Kaylie Haywood and her older brother Tyler, 12.
At a food bank in Stockton, Iowa, they are arguing with their mother over the 15 items they are allowed to take with them. There is little money to go shopping for extras.
Apple sauce is in, canned vegetables, tinned spaghetti, meatballs and ravioli might be.
But when Kaylie asks for ground beef, she is overruled as their motel room does not have a fridge to keep things fresh - just a sink filled with crushed ice. There's nowhere to cook, either.
It's not the first time that the family has struggled to get hold of the food they would like - or enough of it.

Kaylie looks from a broken window
Kaylie wants a decent education, so that she will not go hungry in future

"We don't get three meals a day like breakfast, lunch and then dinner," says Kaylie. "When I feel hungry I feel sad and droopy."
Kaylie and Tyler live with their mother Barbara, who used to work in a factory. After losing her job, she was entitled to unemployment benefit and food stamps - this comes to $1,480 (£974) a month.
But they were no longer able afford to live in their house, which along with bills cost $1326 (£873) a month, leaving little for food or petrol.
The family are among the 47 million Americans now thought to depend on food banks. One in five children receives food aid.
In the area where Kaylie and Tyler live, one provider - River Bend Foodbank - has seen the numbers needing help rise sharply.
River Bend Foodbank truck
The River Bend Foodbank has seen a sharp rise in the numbers asking for help

"It's changed dramatically since the recession. We're up about 30% to 40% in terms of the number of people coming forward," says Caren Laughlin, who has worked with food banks for 30 years.
"That's not only because so many people have lost their jobs, it's also because the jobs that are replacing them are low paying. You cannot feed a family."
Although Kaylie, Tyler and Barbara's motel room is away from the children's friends and very cramped for three people, the move has made their lives easier in some ways.

From BBC News

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