More families going hungry in Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More families going hungry in Washington

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - More people than ever are struggling to keep food on the table in Washington State. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the number of hungry families jumped 85% in the last four years.

The U.S.D.A. said this increase is due to lingering effects of the recession. Only six other states saw a bigger jump in their hunger numbers.

Recent budget cuts have already taken a toll. More than 11,000 families in Washington State saw their state food assistance benefits cut in half in July. That puts more of a strain on food banks and private food providers.

"We're certainly seeing that kind of increased volume here," said Tri-Cities Food Bank Executive Director Jim Neill. "So Tri-Cities is not exempt from those figures of the entire state by any means. We're seeing more and more demand and less and less food being accumulated from food drives and those kinds of things."

Neill said at the Kennewick branch alone they serve 80 families a day and because of the cut to the food stamp program these families are visiting more often.