Many Connecticut residents will go hungry on Thanksgiving - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Many Connecticut residents will go hungry on Thanksgiving

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

With Thanksgiving around the corner, data shows that there is an increasing number of people in the state going hungry.

Melissa Melendez shows her compassion for those who struggle daily with a lack of food.

"I am a mother that needs so I know how it feels," said Melendez.

She volunteers for Foodshare, one of the food bank's mobile units and passes out food to Hartford county residents.

Federal government statistics on those who don't know where there next meal will come from have dropped across the national from 15% in 2014 to 13% in 2015.

But in Connecticut, those statistics rose from 8% in 2005 to 13% in 2015.

That translates to over 180,000 people going hungry in the state.

Foodshare chief executive officer James Arena DeRosa said they aren't just the unemployed.

"The biggest challenge I think, since the recession, 25% of the people in the line--they're working," said DeRosa.

In Wallingford at the Connecticut Food Bank, they are especially busy.

The bank serves six counties outside of Hartford and Tolland.

"What's really causing poverty, what's really causing hunger, it really has [to do with] the structure of jobs. The structure of the economy," Bernie Beaudreau of the Foodbank of Connecticut said.

Beaudreau said the earnings income gap in Connecticut is partially to blame. By his estimate, the number of low paying service jobs have been rising, but the salaries are not.

Meanwhile median management jobs are growing slower, but with healthier pay.

Arena Derosa and Beaudrea feel corporations and policymakers have the greatest power to stem the downward spiral for so many.

But given the state's financial problems, it's not going to happen overnight.

Until then, they're being more aggressive in getting folks in need connected with job training and financial literacy in an effort to keep the number of hungry households from increasing.

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