Food Bank of Delaware: Child Hunger A Major Problem - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Food Bank of Delaware: Child Hunger A Major Problem

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4-year-old Jace and 5-year-old Dallas, of the Millsboro area, are both food insecure (Source: WBOC) 4-year-old Jace and 5-year-old Dallas, of the Millsboro area, are both food insecure (Source: WBOC)
Leonard Butler told WBOC that making ends meet has been difficult (Source: WBOC) Leonard Butler told WBOC that making ends meet has been difficult (Source: WBOC)

DELAWARE - According to the Food Bank of Delaware, child hunger is a big problem for all three counties, including for southern and central Delaware, where approximately one out of every five children is "food insecure." Kim Turner, the communications director for the Food Bank said that many are often surprised to hear about such large numbers in Sussex and Kent Counties.

Food Insecure Children (Provided by Food Bank of Delaware):

- Sussex County: 19.6%

- Kent County: 19%

- New Castle County: 15.5%

On Wednesday, WBOC met up with two impoverished families, to ask for their thoughts about these high numbers. Mother Jamie Basara was joined by her three children, 3-year-old Brooklyn, 4-year-old Jace, and 5-year-old Dallas. All three of the children are "food insecure," and so Basara said that she often had to skip meals to make sure her children could eat.

"The kids need to eat first," she said. "So I’ll skip breakfast and dinner, and just eat something real small for lunch. So that way they can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And they can have their snack stuff. Because - I mean - even when I go to the grocery store, I’m buying stuff for the kids. Not myself.” 

Basara said she used to work for the Department of Corrections, before she suffered an injury to her knee. She said she is now living off of worker's compensation, while she goes back to school. Basara said it's emotional thinking about how this situation impacts her kids. 

“You can’t be emotional in front of the kids," she said. "Which is - that’s another hard part. Because you don’t want them to see your struggling. You don’t want them to get upset. So usually when they go to bed, you kind of have that moment to sit down and it’s overwhelming.”

At the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford, staff members said the problem often gets worse in the summer. That's because many kids eat two free meals a day at school. Meanwhile, in the summer programs are available, but few families take advantage. According to Turner, approximately 20% of the eligible children take advantage of the free meals. 

The second family to join WBOC on Wednesday was the Butler family, in which the kids are also food insecure. Leonard Butler, the father of the house, has two children aged 9 and 11, and an adult son. Butler, who receives disability benefits for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, said he is lucky because he has a car. However he said many impoverished families do not take advantage of the free meals due to the lack of transportation. 

"What are these people doing that don’t have transportation," he asked. "And they can’t get to where they need to be. These people are stuck where they’re at. And then what do you do then?"

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