Photo from 1983. Things haven’t gotten any better.
Nationwide, 25% of military families – 620,000 households – need help putting food on the table, according to a study by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks.
“The results are alarming,” says Bob Aiken, chief executive officer of Feeding America. “It means that people in America have to make trade-offs. They have to pick between buying food for their children or paying for utilities, rent and medicine.”
One in seven Americans – 46 million people – rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, the study found…
Linda Patterson, executive director of Lorton Community Action Center, says stereotypes of the people who need food assistance are misleading.
“The people who come here are hard workers. They are employed. They are the school bus drivers, the lab techs in doctors offices, receptionists, the janitors who clean the floor of your children’s school,” Patterson says. “They just can’t make ends meet because some kind of crisis has hit them.”
The Hunger in America study found that of people who use food banks:
• 26% are black, 20% are Hispanic, 43% are white and 11% are other.
• 33% of households have at least one family member with diabetes.
• 65% of households have a child under 18 or someone 60 or older…
In the past year, food banks have increased their focus on healthy foods. The study found that 79% of people who use food banks report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food just to have enough to feed their families…
“The people who come to us for help are coming more regularly,” says Allison Majewski of the Capital Area Food Bank. “We aren’t a one-time emergency stop anymore. We are a staple for them, so it’s very important that we make these healthy foods available.”
Last time I read about anyone in Congress trying to live on a food stamp budget it was a couple of Democrats and one Republican. They may have lasted a week.
Everyone else was away at fund-raising banquets.