Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Starving in America

Nearly 1,000,000 L.A. residents received food assistance from food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters during 2009.

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 2, 2010) - A new study published by the LA Regional Foodbank today reports that a record 983,400 Los Angeles County residents received food assistance from food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters served by the Foodbank in 2009.

This total represents nearly 1 in 10 residents. Children comprise 40 percent of people receiving food assistance; seniors comprise 5 percent. An estimated 393,000 kids and 49,000 seniors benefited from food distributed by the Foodbank over the course of the year.

The study "Hunger in Los Angeles County 2010" was released today in conjunction with survey results collected by food banks throughout the U.S. and compiled at the national level by Feeding America. The national and local results provide the most comprehensive snapshot of the charitable food assistance network to date.

Listen: A Breadline Might be an Upgrade

Comparing the results of this survey to a similar survey conducted four years ago, Foodbank President Michael Flood stated that, “Even though food pantries and other agencies are serving more people than ever. These agencies are also reporting the need for more food and other resources to meet the growing demand due primarily to the high unemployment rate.”

An estimated 584,300 LA residents are unemployed. The current 12 percent unemployment rate has more than in four years. The new study -- based on 451 face-to-face interviews with clients at food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters -- as well as 363 surveys of volunteers and staff who manage food programs, shows that in Los Angeles County:

  • The total number of people receiving food assistance has increased by 46 percent since 2005 (from 674,100 people annually to 983,400 people in 2009).
  • The number of children receiving food assistance has more than doubled from 185,000 in 2005 to 393,000 children in 2009.
  • Health problems are one indicator of need as 30 percent of households have at least one member in poor health. In addition, 35 percent of adult recipients do not have health insurance.
  • While 37 percent of households include at least one employed adult, two-thirds of these adults are working part-time while only one-third of the adults are working full-time.
  • For adults currently working or who have worked before, 20 percent have held managerial or professional jobs during their career.
  • More than one-quarter of adults (27%) have a college or technical school education although 44% of clients do not have a high school diploma;
  • Families and individuals face difficult economic decisions when attempting to meet their basic needs as 48 percent report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities, 46 percent choosing between food and rent, and 42 percent between food and transportation. View the full study.

The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organization established in 1973 and is one of the largest food banks in the United States. Through a network of 544 charitable agencies providing service from 902 agency sites, the Foodbank supplies enough food for 750,000 meals each week throughout Los Angeles County. The Foodbank is a partner with Feeding America.

No comments: