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Over 100,000 Georgia and Alabama families struggling with hunger

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Before the pandemic hit, officials say over 100,000 people in Muscogee County and surrounding areas struggled with hunger.

Aisha Bowe says the topic of hunger hits home for her. She tells News Leader 9 while her family struggled sometimes, she didn’t allow it to impact her success.

“I honestly was too ashamed to say anything about it,” said Bowe.

Bowe says while she was in high school, she was part of one of the many families across the nation struggling with hunger.

“I would either have to get something from a restaurant or figure out how to cobble together some coins in the couch and buy a snack,” said Bowe.

While she says the issue led to frustration and an inability to focus in class, she didn’t allow it to negatively impact her success. She went on to earn her degree in aerospace engineering, eventually becoming a NASA rocket scientist and even started her own business.

“I had no idea I was ever going to become not only a NASA engineer, but found my company and grow it to the point where we can be listed as a million dollar company,” said Bowe.

Frank Sheppard, CEO and President of Feeding the Valley food bank serves families in both Georgia and Alabama who struggle with food insecurity. Sheppard says the issue causes families to make hard decisions between spending money on food or bills, not both.

He says before the pandemic hit, about 115,000 people in our area struggled putting food on the table everyday.

“That number has gone up by 35% since then,” said Sheppard. “We’re still seeing a 35% increase in demand for our services.”

He says the issue also impacts Fort Benning soldiers and many other military families across the country.

“The other spouse is often unemployed or underemployed because they’re transitioning in and out of community so often,” said Sheppard.

If you or someone you know needs help putting food on the table call or go to Feeding the Valley Food Bank in Midland, Georgia. They’re open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also go to their website here and enter your zip code for a list of food pantries near you. Feeding the Valley Food Bank also partners with Battle Buddy Resource Center to provide food boxes to Fort Benning soldiers every month.

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