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More Seek Out Food Banks in Johnson County

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- Tens of thousands of people across the Corridor don't have enough food to eat, and in Johnson County, 40 percent of them do not qualify for any type of government food assistance.

Recent data from the Map the Meal Gap Project shows that, in Johnson County in 2012, there were more than 18,000 food insecure people and nearly 17 percent of them were children.

While the data from the project shows the number of people dealing with food insecurity stayed about the same in 2012, more of them are looking for help, said Sarah Benson Witry, director of the food bank at the Crisis Center of Johnson County.

"What we've seen is that we are serving a few more families this year, a couple more hundred families this year, and they're coming in more frequently," Witry said.

The Crisis Center saw a 10 percent increase in visits and it will serve more than 12,000 people 1.1 million pounds of food this year.

"It seems that a lot of the people who were food insecure are continuing to experience that, and they might have less resources than they used to," she said.

While food donations continue to come in, they come out just as quickly.

The case is the same at the HACAP food reservoir, which helps stock the Crisis Center.

While the data validates the increase HACAP has seen, it means staff need to step up more to help people in need, said director Amanda Pieper said.

"It's just going to help us leverage a little more resources, but also, help to educate the public that there's a need here and it's not going away," Pieper said.

Food banks are quickly approaching one of the busiest times of year: summer. With kids out of class, many families need to fill the void provided by a free or reduced price lunch.

Go to for information on upcoming fundraisers and how to donate.
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