Right here in the Mahoning Valley, too many seniors, families and children continue to struggle with hunger every day. Unemployment, underemployment, low wages, and rising utilities, gas and food costs often make it difficult for many families to make ends meet. Although the economy is slowly recovering in our area, our pantries are still seeing more individuals and families who were once stable and are now asking for help to put food on their tables.
In 2012, there was overall 14% increase inthe number of people requesting emergency food assistance, and member agencies distributed food to 15,000 people per week. More than 39,000 children in the tri-county area live in poverty. And according to the Ohio Department of Education, 52% of the children in the Mahoning Valley are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
From a study entitled Hunger in America 2010 conducted by Feeding America that examined the services of member food banks, the following are sobering statistics about the people who receive food at church pantries and soup kitchens in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties:
- 35% of food recipients report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medication.
- 31% of food recipients report having to choose between paying for food and paying their rent / mortgage.
- 51% of food recipients report having to choose between paying for food and paying utility bills.
To learn more about hunger, visit Hunger Facts from Feeding America.