Food insecurity among children in Fannin County exceeds the national average.
So states a report issued by Children’s Health Hospital and the University of Texas Tuesday, which looks at children’s health, poverty rates, and access to food in six North Texas counties, including Fannin. The report finds that food insecurity affects more than a quarter million children in the region – and approximately one in four children in Fannin County. And that number might actually be low.
"It’s probably much bigger than what they say," says Kimberly Starrett , president of Fannin County Community Ministries, a nonprofit food bank based in Bonham. "I know that we serve 1200 people a month, and out of those 1200 I would guesstimate that approximately 50 percent are children. It’s pretty bad."
Starrett says the rural nature and sheer size of Fannin County exacerbate the problem. It takes 30 minutes or more to drive anywhere, and many people in the county simply don’t have transportation to a job.
"You gotta have a vehicle in order to have a job and you have to have a job in order to have money for food," she says.
Childhood poverty in Fannin County also rose from 20 to more than 22 percent between 2012 and 2015, according to the report. Nearly half of African-American children in the county live in poverty.