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When a New Jersey student said she didn’t have enough to eat, she highlighted a problem at home, and one that affects some 18 million children nationwide.

A third grader from New Jersey broke down in tears in the middle of her virtual classroom, confessing to teachers and classmates that she was starving.

“This 9-year-old couldn’t take it anymore,” said former New Jersey lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno, who runs the Fulfill Food Bank.

This heartbreaking moment brought an entire community to help, including Guadagno.

“This family was offered not only immediate food, but groceries for six months,” Guadagno said.

The girl’s mother lost her restaurant job almost a year ago.

“It’s happening in your backyard,” Guadagno said.

As of January, 40 million people were living in families where at least one adult did not have a paid job, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And the number of American children facing food insecurity has doubled from 14% to 28% since 2019, according to Northwestern University and the USDA.

About 80% of families in the Los Angeles school district were in poverty before the pandemic began. Food drives like this can save lives for mothers like Sara Swogger.

“My son is in special education. I am going to cry,” Swogger said. “Having to work from home and do your school business is very difficult.”

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited a Houston food bank on Friday, a place working twice as hard to meet demands for a pandemic and one meteorological disaster.

Those on the front lines say America’s hunger crisis will be a long struggle.

“Our hungry children are facing two or three years – or more – of need,” Guadagno said.

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