Poll: 1-in-5 struggle to afford food in AZ - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Poll: 1-in-5 struggle to afford food in AZ

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

For hundreds of thousands in the Valley, there's a daily struggle to get food. According to a recent Gallup poll, 21.1 percent could not regularly feed themselves and their families in Arizona, which has one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation.

Marylu Gerado, a grandmother of six, relies on family and Valley food banks to put dinner on the table.

"My daily struggle is mostly in the kitchen," Gerado said. "Finding something to make to eat is tough."

Gerado knows she's not alone either. The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show 741,000 people live below the poverty line in the Grand Canyon State and that's just an estimate. The real figure could be higher.

Valley charities like the Phoenix Rescue Mission are expanding their services to keep up with the demand.

Mission President Jay Cory says volunteers help feed 500 people every day at one of the mission's food banks.

"We have an expression that hope begins with a meal," Cory said.

Cory says poverty is a complex issue often compounded by drug addictions, a growing pay gap and the Valley's booming population of immigrants.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission plans to expand services for women and children and its goal is to become a solution for those struggling to make ends meet.

Of all the major metropolitan areas in the country, only Riverside County, CA, has a higher poverty rate than Phoenix.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

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