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

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs