New Report: Hunger on the Rise

Posted by on July 21, 2006

[posted from The Benefit Bank newsletter]

More than 25 million Americans turned to the nation’s largest network of food banks, soup kitchens and shelters for meals last year, up 9 percent from 2001. Those seeking food included nine million children and nearly three million senior citizens, a report from America’s Second Harvest says.

“The face of hunger doesn’t have a particular color, and it doesn’t come from a particular neighborhood,” said Ertharin Cousin, executive vice president of the group. “They are your neighbors, they are working Americans, they are senior citizens who have worked their entire lives, and they are children?.

The new report found that 36 percent of people seeking food came from households in which at least one person had a job. About 35 percent came from households that received food stamps. Cousin said the numbers showed that many working people did not make enough money to feed their families. She said the food-stamp numbers showed that the government program, while important, was insufficient.

In Washington, the Capital Area Food Bank served more than 383,000 people last year, a 39 percent increase over 2001, said Kasandra Gunter Robinson, the food bank’s spokeswoman. Of those people, nearly half had jobs, Robinson said. “It is the working poor who are struggling.”

Of those seeking emergency food assistance:
Thirty-nine percent were white, non-Hispanic; 38 percent were black; 17 percent were Hispanic. About nine million were children. Twelve percent were homeless. About a third said they had to choose between buying food or paying for medicine or medical care. Find out more via

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