Thousands of Mississippians are sometimes uncertain about where their next meal might come from. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on a new data ranking Mississippi the fourth most food insecure state in the nation.
During this time of the year there are many families gathering around a table to feast-- but not every family says Oleta Fitzgerald.
"In this season of Thanksgiving it is troubling. We still have so many families and children who lack access to something as basic to life as food," said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is the Southern Regional Director of the Children's Defense Fund. She says more than 20 percent of all children in Mississippi are living in households that can't always afford enough food. She says this should be a wake-up call for policy makers. But instead, she says many governmental assistance programs are under attack.
"If they are working at jobs and if they are not getting the kind of education that's going to provide for them the skills they need for a 21st century economy, what is it exactly that you expect people to do," she asked.
Joel Berg is CEO of Hunger Free America. He says almost 13 percent of working adults in Mississippi are suffering from food insecurity. Without a state minimum wage, Mississippi is covered by the federal standard of $7.25 an hour which he says can make providing for a family difficult.
"States with higher wages have less hunger. It shouldn't be a shock but it is and both high levels of unemployment and low wages in Mississippi contributes to the significant hunger problem," said Berg.
The overall unemployment rate in Mississippi is less than five percent. But, in some counties like Jefferson and Holmes-- it's almost double that. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.