Feeding America calls for action as US hunger crisis looms
Demand on food banks remains high in the US as rising food prices and inflation continue to affect the country.
Feeding America's food bank network helps keep millions of Americans fed
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest Consumer Price Index data this month, which showed that inflation rose 8.5 percent for the year ended in March – a level not seen since 1981.
In addition to this, a survey by Feeding America – a hunger relief charity – shows that over 80 percent of food banks report seeing the demand for food assistance increase or stay the same; a 20 percent increase from the previous survey.
A report by Feeding America claims that every aspect of food bank operations – including purchasing food, transporting donated food, energy for cold storage, fuel, wages, and even vehicle maintenance – has seen significant hikes due to inflation. Food banks are purchasing nearly as much food as they did in 2021, but are now paying 40 percent more for those purchases.
Feeding America projects that the food bank network will experience a 20 percent decrease in manufacturing donations, with 55 percent of its food banks reporting their overall food donations have fallen over the last six months. Without additional funding and federal commodities, food banks cannot be expected to meet this crisis and give their communities the support they need, the report warns.
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“The reality is too many neighbours must continuously be forced to make difficult decisions between paying for food or other necessities like rent and medicines. Nearly one-third of a low-income household’s budget is spent on food, and any incremental increases to food prices can have a dramatic effect to their overall stability and security,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
“Community food assistance continues to be an essential piece of a household’s budget planning. In order for the Feeding America network of food banks, food pantries, and meal programmes to continue to provide food and assistance to the tens of millions of people turning to us for help, we need continued support from both the public and private sector.
“In the coming months and years, we are facing a historically unprecedented set of simultaneous challenges…While we work towards reducing food insecurity for all in the long-term, in the immediate near term, we are asking for USDA and Congress along with our partners and supporters to help us through this storm.”
The report calls for “immediate solutions” to ensure that millions of US communities do not have to skip meals as prices soar. “A shared commitment is necessary between charities, the private sector, and the government,” it said, “to bolster both food and nutrition security across the nation.”