Skip to comments.Food Pantries Struggling with Shortages
Posted on 11/22/2007 7:27:08 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
Operators of free food banks say they are seeing more working people needing assistance. The increased demand is outstripping supplies and forcing many pantries and food banks to cut portions.
Demand is being driven up by rising costs of food, housing, utilities, health care and gasoline, while food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are finding they have less surplus food to donate and government help has decreased, according to Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks.
"I've been doing this for 20 years, and I can't believe how much worse it gets month after month," she said.
Diana Blasingame has lately found herself having to go to a free food pantry once a month to feed herself and her teenage daughter.
"I'm pretty good at making things stretch as far as I can, but food is so high now and I have to have gas in my car to do my job," said Blasingame, 46, who earns $9 an hour as a home health aide. "I work full time, but I don't have health insurance and sometimes there just isn't enough to pay bills and buy food."
"We have food banks in virtually every city in the country, and what we are hearing is that they are all facing severe shortages with demand so high," Ross Fraser, a spokesman for America's Second Harvest The Nation's Food Bank Network, the nation's largest hunger relief group, said Friday. "One of our food banks in Florida said demand is up 35 percent over this time last year."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual hunger survey released Wednesday showed that more than 35.5 million people in the United States were hungry in 2006. While that number was about the same as the previous year, heads of food banks and pantries say many more people are seeking their assistance.
Tony Hall, vice president of the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia, estimates a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in demand for food in the 20-county area the organization serves. He cites cutbacks by local companies, rising fuel costs and the lingering impact of a March tornado that tore through Americus, Ga., destroying or damaging hundreds of homes.
"We really didn't rebound from that," Hall said Friday. "We're definitely down in donations. Each year the demand gets bigger and bigger."
Supplies are down to a little over 8 million pounds of food from a peak of about 12 million pounds two years ago at Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action, which provides food bank services in 10 counties in southeast Ohio.
"We've lost factory jobs and many service jobs don't pay a livable wage," said Dick Stevens, director of the organization's food and nutrition division. "We see a lot of desperation in families who are trying to figure out how to pay higher fuel and utility costs and still put food on the table."
Most food banks and pantries aren't optimistic about the coming winter.
"November weather has been relatively mild, and you haven't seen the cost of home heating fuel added to what a family has to deal with," said Evelyn Behm, associate director of the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, which supplies food to pantries, soup kitchens and other charities in 20 central and eastern Ohio counties. "Those prices, we all know, are going up substantially this year."
At the Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Cincinnati, clients now get three or four days' worth of food instead of six or seven.
"We are trying to stretch our resources to help more people," said Liz Carter, executive director of the society. "But it's so difficult when you see the desperation and have to tell them you just don't have enough to give them what they need."
Officials with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, which serves nearly 1,000 agencies in 23 counties, also are worried.
Through the end of August, the food bank was down almost 700,000 pounds of USDA commodities that include basic essentials such as canned fruit and vegetables and some meat food that is very difficulty to make up in donations, Executive Director Mark Quandt said.
"We're bracing ourselves for a very tough winter, especially with home heating fuel prices at record highs in the Northeast," Quandt said. "People living in poverty or near poverty just can't sustain those types of increases."
But no mention of blame on either Bush or global warming. They must be slipping...
I just finished reading a story in the Lynchburg, Virginia local paper about how full of donations the food pantry is and how they had so many volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinner, they had to turn some away.
I finally did in deepest, darkest Oakland. It was still before 9:00am so I figured I might be able to slip in and out without being assaulted and killed.
Well I made it, but that food bank was in the *worst* neighborhood on EARTH. Hopefully someone enjoyed a turkey.
I hate to admit it because I know its extremely wasteful and all, but next time Im in that position Im going to find the nearest dumpster and in they go.
Exactly. Poor editing this time around, LOL!
I donate two or more boxes of non-perishables to our church Food Pantry each year. This past year has been really rough on us financially, due to starting up another business for our future. As I was putting together a box a week ago, Husband says to me, “I realize your heart is in the right place, but don’t WE qualify as ‘the hungry’ this year?” ;)
Even someone as broke as we are has enough to share. If the pantries are less full than the year before, I’d say the pantries aren’t doing a good enough job of PR and targeting those that CAN fill them.
However, when I see the “Christmas Miracle” story that the AP/Yahoooooooo! will write in a few weeks crediting Dems with a turn-around in food donations, I’ll be sure to post it. Dorks. :)
And one more thing: If you build it, they WILL come. The more “freebies” a community hands out with no expectation of any responsibility from those being given to, the more people seem to show up, looking for the handouts. ‘The People’s Republic of Madistan’ is going to build a HUGE Food Pantry facility with St. Vincent DePaul. I’m predicting it will be feeding at capacity the moment they open the doors. Word gets around quickly. They’ve already “outgrown” their old facility...and that one is only 2 years old!
It works that way with ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ too. You can draw in a whole bunch of undesirables (illegals, gangs, welfare queens, criminals, etc.) by giving away stuff for free; home loans, drivers licenses, jobs that pay cash and no questions asked, etc.
This definetly calls for an emergency united nations meeting.
Everyone who accepts any kind of public assistance should be required to attend classes on 2 things.
1. How to purchase nutritious food in volume for very little money. (Hint: Ding-dongs and Mountain Dew ain’t it.)
2. How to access the 9000 or so public and private sources of free food.
With food stamps, other assistance, and an IQ near room temperature, anybody in the US can eat all they need with zero cash outlay. (The truly mentally disabled get a pass, but that amounts to no more than 2 or 3% of the population
“Operators of free food banks...”
Can make d-mned good money.
I’ve heard the gal who runs the operation in the town I live in
has to struggle by on a miserable $90,000/yr. (Which is a GREAT salary
here in Mid-Missouri).
I’m all for the foodbank concept here in this land of plenty.
There are folks that do need the help when down on their luck or
for children/single mothers that really need the help.
But they also are free food for plenty of people that are well on
their way to being “The Millionaire Next Door” or for Illegals.
Yep. Same statement every year.
Back in late August of 2003 my husband and I were in the local Food Bank Thrift Store....I was shopping, but I had also just dropped off a load of clothes. While at the register the topic of chickens came up and the cashier asked us if we ate chicken — when we said yes she handed us a slip of paper and told us to take it out to the truck around back.
Long story short we wound up with a couple of cases of Perdue Oven Stuffer chickens. It was 98degrees in the shade that day and they were running out of ice before running out of chickens. The Perdue plant had dropped off a tractor trailer full of them that morning, but not enough people were showing up that “needed” them so they were just trying to get rid of them as quick as possible.
We must have given away more than a dozen of them and I still didn’t have to buy chicken for a year — thank goodness for having a large freezer :)
And each year the govt does nothing to control our borders. Get used to it, all charities are being stretched due to the influx of illegals.
—and here is one who doesn’t get it , in spite of the evidence right there in front of him——
There is an immigrant workforce that works cheaper than the rest of the workforce. Additionally they wire their paychecks back HOME.
They still need to eat. Is this more like taking a vow of poverty? Do you still count them among the poor?
What are you driving? a moped?
Lots of folks are paying close to $350 a mo per vehicle just to get to work and back. Then there is food costs, and they ARE up. And the cost of fuel oil IS up.
But hey, inlfation is only at .8%
Well, I got stuck with an entire truckload of beer, once...
but 27 turkeys? How did that happen?
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