Florida Families Fourth In Food Hardship Study

We all know how bad the economy is right now. Even for those of us lucky to have a an income, times are tough.

Just how tough are they for Floridians?

In a recent study posted on TampaBayOnline.com, Florida ranks fourth when it comes to families being able to afford food. Not fourth as in fourth best -- fourth worst.

According to the study conducted by the Food Research and Action Center, nearly one out of three families in Florida are having difficulty meeting their family's food needs.

The study is based on a Gallup Poll of more than one million households. If families answered "yes" when asked if there had been any time in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy the food that they or their family needed, the household was deemed to be suffering from "food hardship."

From the study, one statistic was particularly disturbing. The food hardship rate for Floridian families with children is 30 percent. The average nationwide is 23 percent. Only four states, including Florida, had a rate of 30 percent or higher.

When factoring in bills such as mortgage or rent, electricity, water, car payments and insurance, and medicines, many Florida families are running out of the money to buy the food they need.

Within Florida, families from the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area have it especially bad. Among the United States' 100 largest cities with families suffering from food hardships, the Tampa Bay area came in at 28.

Although federal and local and state governments have tried to help by providing a summer meals program for children and low-income students are also eligible for free or reduced school lunches, it is not enough. Some Florida families are still going hungry.

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