Community Action centers throughout the state are partnering with The United Way to help more Missourians get food, shelter, unemployment and more.

The Missouri Association for Community Action says more than 62 thousand Missourians lost their jobs last year. Director Elaine West says they’re asking legislators to consider those people who are going without, many who were self-sufficient before the economy dipped.

West says this new population can call the United Way at 211 and they’ll be directed to a Community Action Center in their area. This is a new partnership with United Way, supported by federal stimulus funds.West says Community Action Centers can not only help with the basics — food and shelter — but also with job training, daycare, education, healthcare … and the list goes on.

The Missouri Association for Community Action says “Every day throughout Missouri, thousands of individuals and families are finding it difficult to pay for food, utilities or child care; keep up with household repairs and costs; or find a new job to replace lost income.”

The organizations gathered at the Capitol Tuesday to talk to legislators about the growing need for assistance and to unveil its new partnership with The United Way.

Some numbers provided by the group show that:

In addition to the 62,600 jobs lost in last year, 781,842 Missourians live in poverty… 263,484 of them are children.

20,500 students didn’t graduate from Missouri high schools in 20009. The lost lifetime earnings for that class of dropouts alone totals more than $5.3 billion (Alliance for Excellent Education)

Low income families pay an average of 46 percent of their income for housing and energy (US Department of Energy & National Low Income Housing Coalition)

Missouri food banks report an increase in demand from 20 percent ot 44 percent in 2009 (Missouri Food Bank Association)