Entries in Hunger (3)


US Food Banks Struggling with Holiday Turkey Shortage

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT SMITH, Ark.) -- Last year, the River Valley Regional Food Bank donated 2,000 to 4,000 turkeys to families in need.

This Thanksgiving, the Fort Smith, Ark., site has a little more than 200 turkeys.

“Normally, we have very generous food manufacturers that donate to us,” said Ken Kupchick, the Feeding America food bank’s marketing and development director. “You name it. We are supported by major food producers. Donations are there....It’s just not here this Thanksgiving.”

Shannon Traeger, a media relations associate for Feeding America’s national office, said the turkey shortage was being felt by the group’s 200 food banks across the U.S.

The 200 or so turkeys the Fort Smith food bank will give away came from Walmart. Kupchick said half would go to disabled veterans and their families and the rest would be handed out to families of four and more during a church event this weekend.

The food bank has 170 pantries assisting 12,000 families in need, including 25,000 children classified as “food insecure” and close to the same number of residents 50 and older.

Kupchick said the food bank had searched high and low for holiday birds.

He said a Pennsylvania seller had offered turkeys with missing parts for 93 cents a pound, but the cost of the birds plus transportation would have reached $45,000. The food bank asked other food banks to split the deal, but got no takers.

Kupchick told ABC News that the situation was more stressful because Whirlpool, a major local employer, had announced an early-2012 closing of its manufacturing plant, putting residents on edge.

“To see the faces of the unemployed is very disturbing,” he said. “We’re in for a long haul.”

Traeger reminded Americans that the need for food assistance wasn’t only a holiday problem.

“Feeding America network food banks continue to report significant increases in the number of people seeking assistance,” she said via email. “Nearly 49 million men, women and children worry about the source of their next meal.”

If you would like to donate money to help those in need of food, there are several ways:

Donate to the Fort Smith food bank here and to Feeding America here.

You can also make a food donation to your local food pantry.

Donations can also be sent to: P.O. Box 4069, Fort Smith, AR 72914

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hunger and Children in America: a Slow and Steady Starvation

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A little two-year-old boy came to the hospital hungry, not just for dinner, but every day of his young life. He is smaller than he should be and his organs, including his brain, are not developing fully. And he lives in Boston, one of America's most prosperous cities.

Doctors at Boston Medical Center's Grow Clinic, which provides assistance to children diagnosed with "failure to thrive," say they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of children they treat who are dangerously thin.

"What's so hard is that a lot of families are working so hard," said Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at BMC. "They are working jobs. They are earning money and their dollars just don't go far enough."

That is life for nearly 15 million children living in poverty in the U.S., according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.

Some of their stories were depicted in first-person picture stories by 40 women in Philadelphia who documented their family life for a project called "Witnesses to Hunger." It was a graphic record of what it is like to live in crowded bedrooms and open a largely empty refrigerator and pantry.

Pauline S. told ABC News that while she had some macaroni, Spaghetti-Os, noodles, and peanut butter and jelly in her pantry Wednesday night, the food would be gone by next week.

"It really hurts being a mother to see and to feel the hurt for my children," she said. "Not being able to give them what they want and not being able to have everything that other children have -- it hurts a lot."

The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is up nearly 20 percent from 2000, according to the NCCP, because of higher unemployment and foreclosures. It's a problem across the nation but children are the worst off in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. They fare better in New Hampshire, Minnesota and Massachusetts.

U.S. food banks say they face slow and steady starvation rather than sudden African famine.

"We talk about global hunger and we have extended tummies and we have sad eyes," said Marie Scannell, executive director of the Food Bank of Somerset County in New Jersey. "That's not what you'll see. For instance, in Somerville, N.J., you'll see sadness in the children's eyes. That's really the worst part for us."

Across the country, nearly 5.5 million children live in families that have lost homes to foreclosures, and eight million children live in families in which at least one parent has lost a job, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Congress Approves Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- The House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Thursday by a vote of 264-157. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had joined Democrats on Wednesday to call for the swift passage of the bill.

The $4.5-billion bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate last August, would expand eligibility for school lunch programs, establish nutrition standards for all school meals, and encourage schools to use locally sourced food. It would also raise the reimbursement rate to six cents per meal, marking the first time in over 30 years that Congress has increased funding for school lunch programs.

Passage of this legislation helps to advance the Obama Administration's goal of addressing the childhood obesity problem within a generation -- a sentiment at the heart of the first lady's "Let's Move!" campaign.

Despite their support, some Democrats opposed the way the Senate bill is funded, since it would take $2.2 billion away from food stamp programs. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., fought back against critics who questioned the legislation’s hefty price tag. "Some folks will say, ‘How can we afford this bill at the moment?,’" she said. "How can we afford not to pass it? Leaving millions of children hungry and malnourished now in the name of budget cutting is penny wise and pound foolish."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio