HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) -- The first Garland County Hunger Action Summit, was held Tuesday to bring community leaders together to address the growing problem of hunger in the county.
Sponsored by the Arkansas Foodbank, Entergy-Arkansas, Inc., and Weyerhaeuser, Inc., the summit featured a Poverty Simulation Workshop based on the life experiences of real people living in poverty.
During an hour-long exercise that simulated how it feels to struggle for survival, participants experienced the kind of tough choices faced by those living in poverty--between feeding their families, paying for medicine or paying the light bill.
"You know we do have a lot of families that will feed their kids and not eat ...This is just opening up the eyes of a lot of people who don't realize how tough it was for a lot of families in Arkansas," said Chris Cobble with the National Park Community College.
Statistically, 5,460 Garland County children, or a startling 27% of the county's youth, are hungry. A recent Feeding America study found that more than 16,000 people in the county are food insecure, and the numbers are growing.