PITTSBURG — Local food banks are benefiting another year from donations provided by Downstream Casino Resort.

Since 2008, Downstream has made semi-annual donations to food banks in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma to help combat hunger in the region. This week, the company delivered 20 tons of canned food to seven regional food banks — including Wesley House and Word in Action in Pittsburg.

Wesley House and Word in Action received 110 cases of canned food each when Downstream delivered Thursday.

It’s important, and it’s the right thing to do,” Downstream Public Relations Manager Sean Harrison said. “This is our community. These are our neighbors. So, it’s the most basic thing to do if you care about people — you do what you can to see that they aren't hungry.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual "Food Insecurity" study shows the tri-state region of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas 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, putting the region near the top of the nation's list of food-insecure regions.

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

Downstream makes its donations once during the spring and once during the winter holidays. The casino plans to continue fighting hunger in the area.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.