News / USA

One in Seven US Households Struggles to Afford Food

One in Seven US Households Struggles to Afford Food
One in Seven US Households Struggles to Afford Food

More than 17 million American households had trouble affording adequate food in 2010, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That's basically unchanged from 2009, but up sharply from 13 million in 2007.

"This report today underscores what we know: that household food insecurity remains a serious problem in the United States," says USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon.

The USDA report shows the lingering effects of a bad economy. More people have struggled to afford adequate food ever since the economy crashed in late 2007. About one in ten households had trouble affording food that year. In 2008, that figure went up to one in seven. The new report shows it has stayed there ever since.

"Slow-moving disaster"

"This is a disaster. It's a slow-moving disaster," says Dave Krepcho, head of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, which provides food for 3.5 million people in six Florida counties.

Krepcho knows about disasters. When hurricanes hit the state -- as they do fairly often -- Second Harvest helps distribute food to people in need. Four hurricanes struck Florida in 2004. But those were short-term events.

"For the past two years," he says, "our monthly distribution exceeds...our disaster relief after four hurricanes criss-crossed the state. Every single month is beyond that."

One relative bright spot in the USDA report is that the number of households in the most which someone actually went hungry declined slightly last year, from 6.8 million to 6.4 million.

Private sector steps up

Donations from the private sector have helped take food banks take on some of the extra burden, says spokesman Ross Fraser with the Feeding America national network of food banks.

"Corporate America has really stepped forward and has helped us both with food and with funds," he says.

Major supermarket chains, big retailers and food manufacturers have made big donations in the last few years, according to Fraser, and farm groups contributed 270 million kilograms of fresh produce in the last year alone.

"For a hunger relief organization to be able to provide fresh produce to low-income Americans for whom produce is often out of reach financially has been tremendously helpful," he adds.

Federal programs grow...and get cut

Aid from the federal government kept the number of hungry people from increasing despite persistent unemployment, says USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon.

"To me, it is a reflection of the impact of these 15 federal nutrition programs that are working as has been intended over many, many years," he says. "They are intended to meet the critical needs of families struggling to put food on the table until they can get back on their feet."

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest of those federal programs, enrolled nearly 19 million households last year. That's up from almost 12 million in 2007.

But advocates are concerned about next year as Congress discusses major cuts to the federal budget. The House of Representatives passed a budget cutting 10 percent from a $6 billion nutrition program for pregnant women and young children. House leaders say the budget reflects tough choices that reduce the massive federal deficit.

Anti-hunger advocates disagree with those choices. "We can reduce the U.S. federal deficit without making hungry people hungrier," says David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "It's just not right to attack programs that help people that are struggling to feed their kids."

The Senate has not passed its version of the bill yet. Beckmann says his group and others are hoping to convince lawmakers to spare social safety net programs from further cuts.

But with the federal debt nearing $15 trillion, many in Congress say everything is on the table.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid