December 27, 2010 |
Emergency Food: More and More It's What's for Dinner
Val Traore, the radiant and gregarious CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ), wanted to make one thing perfectly clear in our discussion of hunger in America today. "We do not have starvation here in the United States. In Mali," she says, referring to the West African country where about half the population lives below the internationalpoverty lineof $1.25 a day, "if you live in poverty you risk starvation and death. That doesn't happen here in America." It's an important point worth dwelling on.
So what is happening here?
"We're seeing a large number of families that have never needed food assistance before," reports Traore. How many? So far, for 2010 FBSJ has witnessed a 10% increase in their client base of approximately 100,000 people. Here's the surprise: a large portion of the people needing food assistance today are working, and especially among FBSJ's new clients, many are earning incomes nearly twice the poverty line of $22,055 per year for a family of four (up to 185% of poverty).
Who are the hungry and why can't they afford to feed themselves and their families? Increasingly, the shocking answer is this: If you are not financially independent, the odds are good that someday you could be waiting in line to feed yourself and your family.
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