Between long-term unemployment, under-employment and the increased cost of living, hunger is becoming a growing epidemic in America.

According to the Hunger in America 2014 study, 1 in 7 people in our nation use local food banks.

Roland Martin recently sat down with Cheryl “Action” Jackson, who was moved by the staggering numbers and her own personal bout with hunger to create Minnie’s Food Pantry, a non-profit organization that has provided more than 3 million healthy meals to those in need.

Jackson told Martin she is working with Congress to produce bills that will make it easier for corporations to donate food that may be expiring in a few days to food pantries and food banks. As a result of the Congressional support Jackson has received, Minnie’s Food Pantry is able to fight hunger in the state of Texas.

She told Martin that Walmart and grocery stores like Kroger’s are donating food seven days a week to help those battling hunger.

According to Jackson, Minnie’s Food Pantry offers complete healthy meals, including fruits and vegetables, to those who walk through their doors.

Jackson is no stranger to the struggle against hunger, having experienced its impact first-hand as a child and an adult. While married, Jackson and her husband “collectively worked five jobs” and still experienced the pain and anguish that comes from hunger.

In what Jackson called the “most horrific experience” of her life, she told Martin at one time she went to a government office, applied for food stamps and was denied because she made too much money. She said, “I wasn’t making enough money to feed my family, which is the story of people today.”

She added upon returning home with a bag of food from the government office, there was nothing in the bag that she “identified with.”

“I asked God to never let me forget that moment,” said Jackson.

When her father passed, Jackson explained she wanted to do something to honor her mother and out of that desire, Minnie’s Food Pantry was established.

Jackson said 40 percent of the food that Americans eat is “being thrown away.” She encouraged viewers to donate to a food pantry or a food bank to help feed America’s hungry. “There are a lot of people that are hungry that we can really help,” she said.

Jackson also shared a story about helping a woman and her child who were on the street: “The face of hunger could be the person that’s working for you that’s not making enough money because they have three or four kids and they’re afraid to tell you or me that they’re hungry.”

Jackson continued, “Be conscious about the people you love, about their surroundings, because I was one of those faces of hunger.”

Watch Roland Martin and Cheryl “Action” Jackson discuss the epidemic of hunger in America in the video clip above.

For more information and to support Minnie’s Food Pantry, visit www.minniesfoodpantry.org

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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