NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - According to new census numbers, 49 million Americans are now at the poverty level and tens of thousands of them live in North Texas.
The poverty level is $22,000 a year for a family of four.
Jan Pruitt, with the North Texas Food Bank, said there are thousands more people who make too much money to qualify for government programs, but not enough to feed themselves.
“That really is the group of population that we are most concerned with and focused on,” said Pruitt. “We go to church with people that sit next to you and you’d never know, because people don’t… this is not something people are proud to say, ‘I can’t feed my family’.”
According to Pruitt, the proposed cuts to the Farm Bill being debated in Congress would mean less inventory at food pantries, but more people seeking help because of cuts to the food stamp program.
The new census numbers show Americans 65 or older sustained the largest increases in poverty — nearly doubling to 15.9 percent, or 1 in 6.
“I just think that for any American, I think that it is hard for us to understand that there are literally people going hungry in our communities — and that is the reality,” said Pruitt.
The North Texas Food Ban provides some 90,000 meals to residents everyday. Pruitt believes that number is about one-third of what impoverished North Texas families really need.