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Florida food distribution nonprofits lobby lawmakers to ensure children get more to eat

Poll shows 95% of Floridians agree ending childhood hunger should be a top priority for the state’s elected officials
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Poll shows 95% of Floridians agree ending childhood hunger should be a top priority for the state’s elected officials

Many Floridians are experiencing symptoms of food insecurity -- 41 percent in the last year, according to a recent poll commissioned by the support group No Kid Hungry Florida. The same survey found more than three-quarters of Floridians said it was harder to buy food now than a year ago.

No Kid Hungry Director Sky Beard says children are showing up in school clinics with headaches and stomach aches because they haven’t eaten since lunch the day before.

“...that really shakes your foundation," she said. "And it makes it difficult to then move to further stages of development when you are so concerned and worried about where that next meal is coming from. So it absolutely has an impact on children, and it is related to trauma, it is related to mental health…” 

Earlier this month a benefit increase for the federal food program expired, cutting the amount of money that families receive at a time of high inflation. Several state and national food support groups, including No Child Hungry, are at the Florida capitol this week to lobby lawmakers on the issue.

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Margie Menzel