Saturday, 20 December 2008
As the economic crisis deepens in the US, its human toll is becoming more apparent. A new survey of food charities has revealed a dramatic increase in hunger. Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the US, says that a growing number of families face difficulties in securing adequate nutrition. Food banks have proven ill-equipped to meet the increased demand caused by layoffs and increased food costs, and many have collapsed or have restricted the allotments of food they make.
In a nationwide survey of 160 local food assistance programs, with operations covering virtually every county in the US, Feeding America found that there has been a 30 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance, and that every food bank has seen an increase in demand for food relief. An opinion poll commissioned by the organization and released simultaneously found that a growing number of low-income families lack sufficient nutrition.
In a chilling statement on social conditions in the US, 72 percent of surveyed food charities said that they are unable to meet the current demands of local communities for assistance. In most cases, the charities have responded by offering smaller distributions to the hungry, and some have been forced to close down.
This is taking place in every region of the country. To cite a few examples, the Food Bank of New York City reported that organizations under its direction "have regularly reported over the past year that their shelves are bare and that they have had to turn people away due to their lack of food." The Cleveland Foodbank reported that the crisis "is moving at a pace so fast that our staff cannot catch a breath." The Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Texas, said that "our agencies are seeing such a drastic increase in new clients that they are having a hard time getting the money to acquire the food we need," while "other agencies are burning out and we are seeing a number of agencies closing their doors." Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee reported that its agencies have asked that it not refer new clients "because they are running out of food."
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