Mississippi is the hungriest state in the U.S. That's according to a new study by a Christian watchdog group. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the state's largest provider of free food to the poor continues to fight the battle against hunger.
The report was compiled by Bread for the World, a Christian organization who's goal is to end hunger.
The group's Director of Government Relations, Eric Mitchell, says poverty and low wages in Mississippi are contributing factors.
"An individual must earn $13 per hour in Mississippi in order to provide for their famiy. Yet, the minimum wage in Mississippi is only $7.25. When you look at that gap between what's needed and what's actually being paid, that is another factor as why folks are living in households where they're struggling to find food."
Mitchell says one out of five families in Mississippi has a hard time putting food on the table.
He says minorities are twice as likely to have hunger than whites. Charles Beady, Chief Executive Officer for the Mississippi Food Network, agrees that this is the hungriest state in America. He says there are more than a half million Mississippians daily, including children and the elderly, who are hungry or food insecure.
"There's always a need for the kind of work that we do. We're like a bee hive all the time. Bringing food in and bringing food out to those who need it."
Beady says the network distributes food through 430 organizations statewide. He says for every one dollar donated the network can provide seven meals to hungry people.