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Tuesday
Aug302011

More Americans in Their 50s Facing Hunger

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- Nancy and Randal Watkins say they were just like most middle-class couples in their early 50s.

The Lexington, Ky., couple made sure that every bill was paid on time. Then last year, Randal Watkins got sick and soon after his wife got sick. They eventually lost their jobs.

Now they can barely put food on the table.

According to an AARP report on hunger released Tuesday, nearly 9 million Americans in their 50s are more likely to be hungry than people in their 60s and 70s. When the 50-year old Americans become food insecure, they become twice as likely to become diabetic and five times more likely to suffer from depression.

"These are folks suffering from the recession and the economic declines in this country," Jo Ann Jenkins, president of the AARP Foundation, said. "Some of them have just recently lost jobs."

"Sometimes you don't want to get up," Nancy Watkins told ABC News through tears. "You think today will be better. So I'm thinking 'Lord, let me feel better.' Yea, every day that I get up."

The Watkinses use all kinds of tricks to make their food last. They eat food that's gone bad and eat cereal without milk.

"Sometimes there's not a lot of milk but you compromise," Nancy Watkins said. "You can use water."

They make too much from disability to get food stamps but the couple doesn't make enough to pay their bills. They owe $25,000 to a Kentucky hospital.

The Watkinses say they have to remain positive.

"Always remember that you're blessed regardless," Nancy Watkins said. "There's somebody out there worse off than you."

If you would like to donate money to help those in need of food, there are several ways. Feeding America will help provide food to an estimated 14 million children this year. The organization says that for $45, it can feed a family of four for a month. You can also make a food donation to your local food pantry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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