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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2010 – A report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that hunger in Washington is taking a higher toll on families in 2009 than in previous years. Since the economic recession took root in the state in 2008, the number of Washington families struggling to put food on the table has spiked.
The number of Washington households that are food insecure, meaning they struggle to afford enough nutritious food, rose from 288,000 to 367,000 in 2009, a 27 percent increase over the prior year. The rise in households that are hungry was even more striking: 152,200 Washington households met the definition for hunger (called “very low food insecurity” in the report), up 40,200 or 36 percent.
The survey’s data were gathered in December of 2009. The results confirm what emergency food providers, advocates and those who run programs like food stamps have already seen day-to-day: the severity of the current economic recession has yet to show significant recovery for low-income Washingtonians when hunger rates are intensifying and escalating.
“This new research confirms that the continuing recession is making it much more difficult for low-income families to afford a healthy diet,” said Children’s Alliance Deputy Director Jon Gould. “Hard-working families who do the best they can to put food on the table for their children need food assistance more than ever.”
Nationally, more than 50 million people lived in households that were food insecure in 2009 – up from 49.1 million in 2008 and 36.2 million in 2007. Of these households, African-American and Latino homes had disproportionately higher hunger rates, 25 and 27 percent, respectively. In addition, children account for more than 23 percent of the total hunger-afflicted. While the USDA report does not breakdown childhood hunger at the state level, the Children’s Alliance estimates that more than 400,000 children live in households that struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis.
“It is more crucial than ever that federal and state lawmakers take care of all of Washington’s families and address the hunger crisis,” Gould said. “We must meet our family’s most basic needs by strengthening, and not cutting, effective programs that feed our families. Without adequate support for the families in most need, we can’t even begin to recover from the recession.”
In order to reverse the hunger trend captured in the 2009 survey, immediate federal and state actions need to be taken:
CONTACT: Linda Stone, Food Policy Director, (509) 844-1314, firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the Children’s Alliance report, Hungry In Washington:
To read the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC’s) press release: http://frac.org/one-in-seven-americans-struggling-against-hunger
To read the USDA report: