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Message Subject Ohio Food Stamp People better buy seeds. You're getting cut
Poster Handle Nine's
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Somehow, I doubt that Ohio is alone in the issue of food banks needing food and it does seem odd timing to make the announcement.

Ohio food charity need up 45 percent in three years

Posted: 11:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012

Ohio food charity need up 45 percent in three years

A difficult employment climate and increased costs for daily necessities led Ohio food banks to distribute 45 percent more food in fiscal year 2012 than they did just three years earlier, during the height of the recession.

The 164 million pounds of food that Ohio food banks provided to pantries and other charities last year rose at a pace that is alarming officials throughout the state. Ohio’s food banks sent out 113 million pounds of food in fiscal year 2009, according to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

The increase matches the trend of greater “food insecurity” in Ohio, which is growing at a pace nearly unmatched throughout the country. From 2009-11, an average of 15.5 percent of Ohio households were “food insecure,” which means they did not have enough access to food at some point during the year. That was an increase of 6.4 percentage points from 1999-2001, which tied Ohio with Arkansas for No. 3 nationally in fastest growth rate.

Such need mixed with an uncertain economic outlook have food charity officials bracing for more increases while hoping for continued generosity.

“The need is still going up,” she said.

Whatever the method, November and December combine for a period of increased need during the holidays.

“It’s tougher this time of year, even emotionally,” said Keith Williamson, regional director for Catholic Charities Southwest Ohio and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan counties.

“Holidays are supposed to be a time to think about celebration, not think about, ‘Boy, I can’t give a gift because I need to find food for the table.’ That’s an emotional issue.”

Nearly as concerning as the amount of food is the makeup of homes asking for help.

“We’re seeing households with more people in them,” Hamler-Fugitt said. “There might be a matriarch or patriarch with a job or bringing in Social Security or a pension, and they might take in adult children or others to help them. Those are more people to care for, which stretches what they have.”

Pantries and community kitchens like the House of Bread are seeing such changes. More families with children are coming to get the lunches, which the facility serves at a clip of about 220 per day.

“Most think that people with houses go to pantries, so they can take it home,” Bennett said. “We’re seeing them as well. The food only goes so far.”

“About 40 percent of people in our mobile food pantry program have never been to a food pantry before,” Williamson said. “It’s less intimidating to ask for help when it’s in that form, I think. They don’t feel as embarrassed as they might (going to a food pantry building).”

Foodbanks are also collecting and distributing much more fresh fruits and vegetables, responding to statistics that show up to 40 percent of those who seek food aid are in poor health. The Foodbank provided 531,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in 2011. Just in the first three months of 2012, it distributed 713,000 pounds.
[link to www.springfieldnewssun.com]
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