Friday, July 9, 2010

Interesting Article Regarding the Food Bank Crisis-1 in 8 Americans Seek Assistance...

The following article was obtained from

One in Eight Americans Seek Food Banks
by Dustin Ensinger on February 9, 2010

Struggling to make ends meet due to the economic downturn that has left nearly 15 million people unemployed, tens of millions of Americans are flocking to food banks, soup kitchens and emergency shelters in need of food assistance, according to a recently released report.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank network, found that 37 million Americans - or one in eight - seek emergency food assistance annually, including 14 million children and three million elderly individuals. That is a 46 percent increase from Feeding America’s last study, which was conducted in 2006, before the Great Recession.

"Clearly, the economic recession, resulting in dramatically increasing unemployment nationwide, has driven unprecedented, sharp increases in the need for emergency food assistance and enrollment in federal nutrition programs,” Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, said in a press release. “Hunger in America 2010 exposes the absolutely tragic reality of just how many people in our nation don’t have enough to eat. Millions our clients are families with children finding themselves in need of food assistance for the very first time.”

Also underscoring just how much the economic downturn is affecting the average American, the report found a 68 percent increase in the number of those unemployed for less than one year seeking food assistance.

Even those that remain employed are having a tough time feeding their families. Thirty-six percent of client households had at least one working adult.

Many of those families are faced with extremely difficult choices. According to the study, 46 percent of clients report choosing between paying for utilities and food; 39 percent say they had to decide on paying the mortgage or rent or for food; 34 percent say that they skipped medical bills in order to pay for food.

“It is morally reprehensible that we live in the wealthiest nation in the world where one in six people are struggling to make choices between food and other basic necessities,” said Escarra. “These are choices that no one should have to make, but particularly households with children. Insufficient nutrition has adverse effects on the physical, behavioral and mental health, and academic performance of children. It is critical that we ensure that no child goes to bed hungry in America.”

The influx of hungry Americans seeking food assistance is putting a severe strain on the groups that serve them. The report found that 5.7 million people are seeking food assistance each week, a 27 percent increase from 2006. That is making it extremely difficult for oftentimes under funded food banks and soup kitchens to keep up. According to the report, 70 percent of food pantries are finding it difficult to meet the needs of their clientele and 73 percent of emergency shelters are struggling to keep their doors open. The reasons most often cited were a lack of funds and supplies.

“While we have reached many more people over the past four years, the need of hungry Americans far outpaces our current level of service,” stated Escarra. “We will continue to partner with federal and state governments, corporate and individual donors and other hunger-relief organizations to bring more food and funds into the charitable distribution system and connect people with federal benefits until every man, woman and child has access to adequate food and nutrition.”

1 comment:

  1. That was a very interesting article. I certainly understand choosing between buying food and paying the mortgage and utilities. I had no idea there were so many other people needing food, though.