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PHOENIX -- Valley food banks are worried about potential cuts to food assistance programs during a seasonably slow donation time.

"When things like that happen to people who are living in poverty, they have no choice to but go to food banks to get the food they need," said Jerry Brown of St. Mary's Food Bank.

According to statistics provided by St. Mary's Food Bank, more than one in four children, one in five Arizonans, and one in seven seniors in Arizona live in poverty.

Arizona's hunger rates are higher than national averages about 19.1 of Arizonans are food insecure, compared to 16.4 percent nationally. Nearly 30 percent of Arizonan children face hunger, compared to 22.4 percent nationally.

Arizona ranks third in the country for high child food insecurity rates, behind only New Mexico and D.C., with 478,420 children facing hunger on a daily basis.

Fortunately, the 2013 holiday season proved that Valley residents are generous. St. Mary's Food Bank was able to build a reserve of food for the hungry to last through the first quarter of 2014, but residents are asked to provide any assistance with non-perishable food items in order to continue the support of the Valley's needy into the spring and summer months.

Valley residents are also encouraged to donate citrus and fresh vegetables during the Fifth Annual Super Citrus Saturday on Jan. 25. For more information, click here.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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