The Islamic Post Blog

Emergency Food Banks: ‘Our Stores Depleted’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:27 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags:

Emergency Food Banks Face Crisis Due to Thousands More Americans Whose Loss of Income Has Produced Need for Emergency Food Aid.

By Muhammad Ahmad

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Governor David Paterson of New York responded to desperate announcements from emergency food assistance providers across the state, that  inventories at their charitable agencies .were running low, and in some cases were depleted.  Governor Patterson rung in the new year, reports the Associated Press, by designating $30.9 million in emergency funding to soup kitchens, emergency food banks, and emergency shelters in New York for 2009, where officials have reported a 30 percent increase in people requesting food assistance.  The crisis, created by increased numbers of families and individuals with drastically reduced income for food, spurred the governor to add an additional one million in emergency funds to the food assistance  groups in order to provide the required help.
In Detroit, Michigan, food suppliers such as Kraft, Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Meijer Inc., along with smaller local grocers, food manufacturers, and food distributors, have boosted their tax-deductible donations to their food banks, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars in food products -also in response to the agencies desperate requests for increased support in order to feed America’s hungry. Detroit, in particular, has especially dire “food insecurity” conditions that are widespread due to the severe economic depression from the failing automotive industry.
Hunger in America
For a rapidly swelling segment of the U.S. population, serious food emergencies are occurring now. Information gathered in a 2007 report of the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that nearly 40 million Americans may not be able to maintain sufficient food for their families due to lack of money or other resources, and these numbers are increasing rapidly. A similar survey taken by Feeding America (formerly known as Second Harvest Food Bank) entitled, “Hunger in America”, concluded that their organization fed about 25 million Americans in 2007 via 63,000 hunger-relief centers nation-wide, and about 42 percent of those families have to choose between paying utility bills and buying food.  The study also found that more than one-third of their client families had to choose whether to pay their rent or mortgage, or buy food; and, for one-third of client households, the choice was either to pay for medicine or medical care, or purchase food. These statistics describe families with children under the age of 18, and senior households who struggle to keep an adequate supply in their homes.  Emergency food shelters also consistently serve families having at least one job holder, and whose living expenses severely limit the amount of funds available for food.
The amount of people going to bed hungry in the United States is on the rise. The Washington Post reported the number of Americans on food stamps was poised to exceed 30 million for the first time in December, and is fueled by rising unemployment and food prices. Yet, this figure represents only half of the 60 million Americans estimated by the National Priorities Project to need food assistance.
Food pantries in Michigan, Maryland, Utah, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and other states are struggling to give handouts to an increasing number of clients who need assistance. The Tooele Food Bank in Utah reported twice the amount of people coming to receive food, whereas there have been fewer donations. In Albany, New York, even middle class, two-income families are knocking on the doors of food banks for the first time.
Blue Chip Group, Emergency Food Storage, Survival Acres, and other emergency/survival advocates, believe a solution to the United States hunger problem lies in well-planned emergency food storage programs before times get harder, and offers free information and tips about food storage on their website
FEMA began advising people as far back as 2004 to store food and water for emergency use, listing the following items that may be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions): wheat, vegetable oils, dried corn, baking powder, soybeans, instant coffee/tea/cocoa, salt, non-carbonated soft drinks, white rice, bouillon products, dry pasta, and powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans).
-Raheemah Atif contributed to this report.


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