We often expect the need for food banks and community assistance to decrease when the economy increases, but the reality is that the opposite may be true. Despite a growing economy, U.S. food banks are expected to disseminate 4 billion pounds of food in 2015, according to the Associated Press.
The long lines and growing demand for food at community pantries may be surprising for some because unemployment has dropped and the economy is growing. However, many people working are earning lower wages or only working part time, according to James Ziliak, founder of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky. The earnings are stretched thin, he told the Associated Press.
People who no longer qualify for food stamps because they are working part time are still struggling to pay their bills and provide food for their families. Approximately 46 million people utilized food assistance through local food banks at least once in 2014, according to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser. The rising cost of living is also considered a factor in the influx of people seeking assistance with feeding their families.
The lines at the Sacramento Food Bank provide evidence that the needs of the community are still significant. Spokeswoman Kelly Siefkin told CBS Sacramento that the numbers have increased dramatically in the last few years and the demand has been difficult to keep up with. “There are families that look no different than we do that are struggling,” said Siefkin.
You never know when your savings will run dry, you’ll experience a drop in wages, or worse, face unemployment. Food banks provide the assistance needed to fight hunger and provide for the well-being of children and families. You can help those in need by donating food to local pantries and shelters to stock their dwindling shelves.