Please donate this holiday: Families going hungry at rates not seen since Great Depression
Stories have been pouring forth across the country of food pantries seeing Depression-era levels of hunger and food insecurity. The Rhode Island Community Food Bank, for instance, says the number of people experiencing hunger has jumped from 9% last year to 25% this year, according to the Providence Journal.
The pandemic that has taken almost 1,300 Rhode Island lives has also plunged people into food insecurity at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. In 2019, the number reporting food insecurity was 9.1%. This year, 25% said they were unable to provide enough food for themselves and their families.
Last Saturday, the North Texas Food Bank served roughly 6,200 households—or some 25,000 people—the largest distribution in the bank’s nearly 40-year history, according to the local NBC affiliate in Dallas-Forth Worth. But the need is growing right as the resources are set to dwindle.
The NTFB says meeting a need this great isn’t sustainable unless the federal government steps in. If not, they say North Texas will face a potential decrease in supply by tens of millions of pounds.
“The amount of food that we need to meet the need in the communities is nothing like anything our food bank has ever seen before,” said Valerie Hawthorne, Government Relations Director for the North Texas Food Bank. …
“In 2021 two very important programs from the USDA are ending,” she said. “We’re looking to lose about 17 million pounds worth of food. And that just translates to more hungry people.”
Food pantries in the Boston area also say they are seeing Depression-level need, according to the Boston Herald.
The Salvation Army kicked off the holiday week delivering turkeys and meal packages to more than 600 families in Chelsea Monday, after feeding 2,500 Boston area families over the weekend. Their food pantry now serves up to 700 families daily, compared to an average of 50 families a day before the pandemic hit. …
The Greater Boston Food Bank has set a goal to provide 20 million meals across 190 cities around Boston by the end of December, including holiday meals.
The Food Bank has seen demand at its food pantries jump 110% in 2020, including many new clients who have never visited a food bank before.
“This is unprecedented,” said Food Bank Senior Director Catherine Drennan. “I’ve been with the food bank about seven years. We’re seeing numbers that are worse than the 2008 recession. They’re comparable with the Great Depression.”
At Daily Kos, we certainly wish our entire community of readers a happy, healthy, safe, and plentiful Thanksgiving holiday. And if you have the means, please share your good fortune with others this holiday season by donating to your favorite pantry, or find your local food bank here.