Hunger hurts eastern Massachusetts. One in nine members of our community is at risk of hunger, and that number is expanding. The Greater Boston Food Bank has witnessed a 23% increase in requests for food assistance since 2005.
Hunger is no longer just a problem facing those in poverty. A recent study shows that 47% of those at risk for hunger in eastern Massachusetts earn too much to be eligible for government-provided emergency food assistance. Many never dreamed they would need a food pantry or community meal program to feed themselves and their families.
Why is hunger hurting so many in our community?
The answer, it turns out, has less to do with food - there's plenty of food available - and more to do with economic and political obstacles that prevent food from reaching those who need it. With most food in our country moving from west to east, we are at the end of the primary distribution pipeline, making food more expensive. Our cold winters mean higher heating bills, and housing costs are higher relative to other areas of the country. Ending hunger means addressing those systemic problems, while doing everything possible, every day, to feed hungry people.
Compiled by the Greater Boston Food Bank
USDA Reports Show Growing Hunger Problem Across The Nation & in the Commonwealth
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service reported that 10% of households in Massachusetts, or approximately 253,000 households, experience "food insecurity," meaning that they lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food. This is an increase of two percentage points, or about 47,000 households, over the previous year.
In total 50.2 million Americans, including nearly 17.2 million children, are food insecure. The 2010 report on Household Food Insecurity in the United States paints an alarming picture of the pervasiveness of hunger in the nation.
The findings are in line with The Greater Boston Food Bank's 2010 Hunger Study results, which showed that the number of people visiting a food pantry, soup kitchen or shelter in Massachusetts increased 23% since 2006. The three Feeding America food banks in the Commonwealth are now serving as many as 801,200 people.
"These are distressing numbers that show how much suffering the current economic condition continues to cause. Because unemployment remains persistently high - above 8% or more for more than a year now - the number of struggling families continues to grow right in our Commonwealth," said Catherine D'Amato, president and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank.