>2010 Foodbank Hunger Study
>Feeding America - www.feedingamerica.org
>California Association of Food Banks - www.cafb.org
>Food Research & Action Center - www.frac.org
>California Food Policy Advocates - www.cfpa.net
Soaring Costs Strain Social Safety Net
Laura (featured in our spring Food First Newsletter) states: "It is much harder, to buy anything, including even the gas to get to the store. We are drinking a lot of water and making lemonade from locally donated lemons and rationing our food out. It gets harder every day, so the food we get from the Foodbank really makes a difference."
A perfect storm of conditions has coalesced to make this one of the most challenging times for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County in recent memory. The nation's social safety net, of which food banks are an integral part, is being strained as rarely before, thanks to a menacing combination of rising food and fuel prices and an economy which seems headed for recession. These economic pressures have put more and more people at risk of hunger; while the Foodbank wrestles with higher costs and decreased federal aid.
Gasoline prices have jumped 30% since last year, leaving low income families, and even middle income families, unable to meet basic living expenses. More expensive energy translates into higher consumer food prices, as the costs of manufacturing and transporting goods rise. And the subprime mortgage crisis has people struggling to meet escalating monthly payments. Our agencies report serving between 10 and 50% more people than just a few months ago.
In meeting the rising need, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has been perhaps more fortunate than many other food banks. Santa Barbara County farmers and ranchers are among the most generous contributors of fresh fruits and vegetables in the country. We also benefit from the compassion and philanthropy of more than 6,000 committed supporters.
These are big pluses for the Foodbank, but they are outweighed by a growing litany of minuses affecting our food supply:
the inventory of farm products available through the USDA's Surplus Commodities Program has declined sharply;
retail food items that are not selling and seasonal inventory that is no longer needed are now often sold to discount stores instead of being donated;
growing efficiencies in food production and inventory control have shrunk the quantities donated by supermarkets, producers and wholesalers;
the cost of food we must purchase, to fill the contributions gap, is up 5%.
The Foodbank is committed to doing all we can to meet this unprecedented need. With the help of our committed contributors, we are confident we will weather these difficult times. Your contributions--of funds, food, time, and/or advocacy--are more important than ever. Thank you for your continued efforts in support of our work. Together we can create a hunger free Santa Barbara County.
Below are just a few price hikes that have begun to send even average middle income families and seniors in search of food assistance.
>UCLA Health Policy Research Brief - June 2007
Food Security Among California's Low-Income Adults Improves, But Most Severely Affected Do Not Share in Improvement Food insecurity in California decreased during the recent economic expansion, but it has not improved to the level achieved at the end of the last period of economic growth. more...
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service released its annual study measuring food security in the United States, Household Food Security in the United States, 2006. more..