QUAPAW – Officials with the Quapaw Tribe's Downstream Casino Resort made their semi-annual Food Bank donations last week, distributing 20 tons of canned food to seven food banks and food pantries in five counties around the region.

“This is the first of two big food donations we will make this year. We want to fight hunger and raise awareness of the problem of hunger in our region," said Downstream Chairman John Berrey.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual "Food Insecurity" study indicates the Tri-State Region of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas are losing the battle against hunger.

About 17 percent of the region's households experience food insecurity, and about 6 percent of households have "very low food security."

Those numbers are up over previous years, and that puts the region near the top of the nation's list of food-insecure regions.

Downstream employees are in their ninth year of making food donations — once during the spring, and once during the holidays, delivering between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Deliveries are made to food banks and food pantries in Ottawa County, Cherokee and Crawford Counties in Kansas, Jasper County in Missouri, and Benton and Washington Counties in Arkansas.