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Senior citizens, young parents and middle-aged workers lining up at food pantries are a common site these days across recession-hit US. Quietly collecting handouts of pasta, canned vegetables, peanut butter and other staples to stave off hunger.

Community Center volunteers report more people this Christmas than last Christmas. U.S. food banks have reported a 30 % rise in requests for emergency food assistance but the situation is expected to grow worse in 2009 due to rising unemployment.

U.S. employers cut 533,000 jobs in November alone, which is the highest monthly number in 34 years. It’s definitely a crisis.

Food assistance groups say that there are many new families who are showing up at their doors, families who were recently making it on their own but can no longer do so due to the rising costs of food and energy.

The demand from food pantries has jumped 50 percent this year.
The story is the same in both big cities and small towns. For many, this is the first time they need such assistance. But at least we are not starving, they say.

The statistics are showing the real picture and it is scary to learn that so many people are feeling the impact of the economy to the extent that they need emergency food. Food assistance groups say that Congress and the White House need to push forward a series of urgent hunger relief measures.

Feeding America requested an increase in food stamp benefits as well as an increase of $150 million to buy, store and distribute U.S. commodities to feed the hungry. They asked an additional $15 million for an already approved but not funded program to deliver food to rural poor. 72% of their food banks are unable to adequately meet the needs of their clients and the picture is not getting prettier.

Catholic Charities USA is also complaining that they cannot keep food pantry shelves stocked due to higher demand. They are meeting with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team to ask for emergency federal aid to nonprofits like food banks and homeless shelters to help feed and shelter the needy. They are urging the incoming Congress and the new administration to prioritize and make the crisis their first priority.


Good job, Dennis. What a timely article! Malnutrition can indeed impact health in obvious and subtle ways. Yes, we need more emergency food aids for the needy. This should be no problem as I don't think there is a food shortage in the United States. I agree that our government can do a lot more feeding the hungry.
Another obvious way to address our hunger problem is to reduce food waste. I ate out at buffets a lot, and I often saw people around me took a few bites at a piece of chicken, beef or whatever, and then put the plate with the bulk of the uneaten food aside to be carried away by the waitress. These same customers most likely would continue such wasteful practice when they cooked and consumed their food at home and put what was left of their money in jeopardy.