The Florida economy is showing signs of improvement but it still ranks 12th on a list of states where people say they don't always have enough money to eat last year.
That's more than 21 percent of the state's population, according to a report from the Food Research and Action Center.
Debra Susie, executive director of Florida Impact, said Florida was particularly hard hit because of its reliance on construction, service and travel industries.
"We really got hit with a triple whammy on the way Florida had to weather the economic downturn," Susie said. "It takes a long time to come out of that."
Susie is in Washington with more than 700 other people for a National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. They'll talk about how food stamps can help end hunger as the economy continues to recover.
The FRAC report states food stamp benefit levels aren't high enough for people to buy enough food to live on. FRAC President Jim Weill said when nutritional needs aren't met, it's difficult for peolpe to move ahead in other aspects of their lives.
"We know from the research that that means parents and kids aren't doing as well at work and at school as they would be doing if they were consistently eating a healthy diet," Weill said.
Florida and other Southeastern states join the Southwest as the two regions of the country most affected by food hardship, according to the report.
- Florida News Connection