Boston Food Banks in Trouble

In today’s Boston Globe, a disturbing article discusses how the food banks and pantries in the Greater Boston area and Massachusetts in general, are really feeling the pinch of inflation. The Husband read an article that said the cost of food is up 45% globally. What are we doing to ourselves???

The Greater Boston Food Bank supplied this image that illustrates how the [wholesale] price of Turkey has increased over the past five years (up 38%). It has almost doubled. According to the article, the price for a case of canned peaches has gone up 57%.

This is not good news for the needy. Local food banks received about 39% less food from Federal funding last year and they expect even less this year (thanks GWB). The article states “They want lawmakers to raise emergency food assistance by $1 million this fiscal year, to a total of $12 million, as it was last fiscal year. They are also urging lawmakers to increase emergency food assistance to $12.6 million for fiscal 2009.” But this is wishful thinking… there’s no guarantee.

The Greater Boston Food Bank did a survey last year and the results are sobering. “…of 25 agencies around the state found that 96 percent had an increase in demand. Of those, 58 percent saw demand rise between 20 percent and 40 percent.

Over the past year, the survey found, 52 percent of agencies ran out of food at some time. Fifty-eight percent reported a drop in donations.

Eighty-two percent of agencies reported difficulty buying protein; 52 percent had a tough time buying vegetables; and 35 percent had trouble purchasing canned goods and starches.”

The bottom line is less money, less food. Less food, more hungry people. These people are our neighbors, our family, our friends, the poor, the needy, the young and the elderly. So how can you help? Donate funds or donate food. Better yet, talk to your company and get them to help. There are many corporate giving programs. Lastly, if you are feeling the effects of this recession (oops, sorry Georgie-boy, I know you don’t like to use the “R” word), but still want to help — volunteer. There are plenty of opportunities. If you need help yourself, click here.

Lastly… What I am going to do to help? Well, it’s a rainy day which means we’ll be doing some spring cleaning. Part of that cleaning will include going through the pantry and kitchen cabinets to collect all the boxed and canned goods that have been sitting around unused (obviously only those with valid expiration dates). I also emailed the GBFB and asked for details regarding a virtual food drive — that I will try to do from this blog. I haven’t heard back from them yet.

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