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HERO CENTRAL: The Changing Face Of Hunger In Central Georgia | News

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HERO CENTRAL: The Changing Face Of Hunger In Central Georgia
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Kevin Barkley said he had high hopes for his future when he started a career as an airplane mechanic in 2009.

"I did an honest day's work for and honest day's wage. I was looking towards that American Dream of the two cars in the driveway and the 2.3 children," he said.

He had to put that dream on hold when the broke his collar bone and had to take a leave of absence from work. He now lives off a $700 a month temporary disability check.

"It's a big shock to be taken from a $500 a week job to $175 a week," he said.

He says after rent and doctor's fees, there's not a lot left over for food.

"Ramen, that's the crisis food. If I get down to that. I'm in big trouble, which is why it's in the back," he said.

Barkley says he often gets a hot meal from Macon Outreach and a local charity, Loaves and Fishes, helps him with groceries and housing.

Mary Gatti with loaves and fishes says they're seeing a different kind of person asking for help.

"There's always people that come in that you would see on the street and you would not think that they would be in need of a meal," she said. "They look like everyday ordinary middle class people just like we are."

You can see the demand at the Middle Georgia Food Bank warehouse. Typically 60 percent of the shelves should remain stocked, but as of August, only 40 percent are stocked.

Executive Director Ronald Raleigh says that's 9 tractor tractor trailers full of food that have been distributed and that the food bank hasn't been able to replace.

"There is a greater influx of people that are in that low middle income bracket versus just the unemployed or just the low income people," he said.

He says the hundreds of Central Georgia agencies that distribute food must now adapt to first-time customers.

"The agencies we're working with are helping to meet that need by letting those people know we're here to help you, there's no reason to feel ashamed of why you've gotta come get assistance," he said.

 

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