Children in Poverty

FRESNO, Calif. As some families are scrambling around shopping for the holidays, many in the Valley are struggling just to make ends meet.

This time of year the homeless and hungry get lots of attention. But poverty is a year round problem, and it's affecting a growing number of children.

The lines seem longer than usual at holiday food giveaways this season. Folks say they are hurting.

Tamca brown, Fresno resident said: "With the economy and things like that it's been really tough over here. Rent, food, everything."

The latest census bureau figures show the number of children living in poverty is surging. The statewide average is over 18 percent, but in Fresno County it's over 30 per cent, and other Valley Counties are not far behind. It's a growing problem, but not a new one.

Kendra rogers, First Five Fresno said: "Well unfortunately even before the economic crisis, families in Fresno county and in the valley, especially families with young children are among the highest living in poverty."

The numbers mean more families are joining the ranks of the homeless.

Larry Arce, Fresno Rescue Mission said: "Our family shelter for the last year it's been full constantly, all the time. There's more families. There's more people that are coming."

Helping with food and meals over the holiday season provides some relief, but with unemployment rising and government spending being cut, things don't look good.

Tamca Brown, Fresno Resident said: "The food stamp aid went down. The cash aid went down, it's just terrible. "

And more people are feeling it.

Larry Arce, Fresno Rescue Mission said:"We still have the homeless, there's plenty of those around, but the types of people we're seeing now, it's your next door neighbor you're seeing now."

And the numbers are getting bigger. The latest figures from 2008 show an increase over 2007, the numbers are believed to be much higher for 2009.

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