— The number of Americans struggling with hunger remained stable in 2009
despite the economic downturn, but remained at the highest recorded level,
according to new federal figures.
Department of Agriculture released statistics Nov. 15 that showed one in seven
American households could not buy adequate food last year due to lack of money
and other resources.
of people suffering from “food insecurity” increased only one-tenth of a
percentage point from 2008, but that number is almost more than 4 percentage
points higher than it was 10 years ago, and the highest since 1995.
be worse,” said David Beckmann, president of the ecumenical anti-hunger group
Bread for the World, in an interview with CNN. “I was struck that the numbers
did not increase from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009.”
poverty rate increased by 3.8 million people — a little more than 1 percent —
during the same time frame, according to a Census Bureau report released in
largest federal nutrition programs — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps; the Special Supplemental
Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; and the National School
Lunch Program — have all seen an increase in need, the USDA said.
half of food-insecure households participated in at least one of these
assistance programs, according to the report, with SNAP showing the sharpest
increase (5.3 million people) in average monthly participation.
more prevalent in large cities than in rural areas and suburbs, and was
substantially higher in black and Hispanic families.
Concannon, undersecretary for the USDA Food Nutrition and Consumer Services,
said the USDA anticipates that “food security will improve as the economy
improves, but in the near term, without these benefits, many families would
face far more severe problems getting the nutritious food they need.”