As we approach this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, it is important that we remember those who may be less fortunate. More Americans are struggling to put enough food on the table for their families. Making ends meet is a struggle for some Americans regardless of the state of the general economy. Such a struggle can leave families insecure about having enough food to get them through the month. Some may have to scrimp on the quantity or quality of the food that they eat. While these situations happen in the best of times, they become more common and acute in economic recessions when job markets are weak and State and local government assistance is curtailed by tight budgets.
USDA's Economic Research Service's (ERS) released its annual report on Household Food Security in the U.S., which revealed that in 2008, 17 million households, or 14.6 percent, were food insecure and families had difficulty putting enough food on the table at times during the year. This is an increase from 13 million households, or 11.1 percent, in 2007. The 2008 figures represent the highest level observed since nationally representative food security surveys were initiated in 1995. Colorado was one of 13 states where the percentage of households struggling with hunger dropped over the three years ending in 2008 despite a surge nationally, according to a federal report released Monday. The report also looked at households dealing with the most acute hunger problems and found that the percentage in Colorado rose from 3.9 percent to 5 percent between the two time periods. One in eight Colorado households had to deal with hunger issues, and the problem has intensified in 2009 with the recession, officials surmised based on anecdotal evidence.
The USDA’s domestic food and nutrition assistance programs increase food
security by providing low-income households access to food, a healthful diet,
and nutrition education. I would like to encourage all who are able to donate to our community food banks or find other ways to share during this holiday season. Remember that it is not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, that is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
The full study is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/features/householdfoodsecurity/