Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hungry Americans

One in Eight Americans Used Food Banks in 2009

CHICAGO—A charitable organization estimated Tuesday that 37 million Americans—or one in eight people—turned to food pantries and soup kitchens during the 2009 recession, forcing some sites to cut meal portions and turn away people.

Feeding America, a Chicago-based network of 200 food banks, said in its quadrennial hunger study that 46% more people visited a hunger-relief charity at least once in 2009 than did in 2005. The estimate was based on a survey of officials at 37,000 local feeding agencies nationwide.

President Barack Obama has a stated goal of ending childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015. But the Feeding America study indicated that high unemployment and growing health-care costs were undermining increases in federal spending on nutrition programs.

As part of the hunger study, the group also interviewed 61,000 patrons at emergency feeding sites from February through June of last year. Among other things, the Feeding America study estimated that 13.9 million children were served by an emergency feeding center in 2009 compared with 9.23 million children in 2005.

Feeding America, which changed its name in 2008 from America's Second Harvest, said its survey showed that 76% of the adults who used a food pantry in 2009 were unemployed, including 3.2 million who had lost their jobs within the past 12 months. Read More

At the same time we are seeing an increase of people who are struggling to afford food for their families, we have food elitists who continue to advocate for a higher priced food supply. I can guarantee you that hungry people aren’t concerned about “food miles” or the technology used to grow it. The people that are worried about those types of things are the ones with full stomachs. So who should we be catering to in this country? Should we use the Pollan plan and turn our backs on the last century of progress in food production and have no regard for how many people we can feed? Or should we concentrate on making food more accessible by keeping it as affordable as possible? I, for one, am much more concerned about the empty stomachs than the full ones.

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