[Hpn] Less aid, less food - MORE NEEDY~ Thanks To George Bush War Economics
William C. Tinker
Sat, 12 Jan 2008 15:23:55 -0500
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Less aid, less food - MORE NEEDY: Cash-hungry food banks try to cope as =
growing numbers enter the ranks of 'near homeless'
Fisherman Keith Fitzell, 47, eats lunch at the Salvation Army in =
Plymouth. Rough weather, stricter fishing regulations and rising fuel =
prices have made for hard times. (AMELIA KUNHARDT/The Patriot Ledger)=20
By ROBERT SEARS
The Patriot Ledger
As a fisherman, Keith Fitzell's job is to put food on the table. Yet =
with prices of most everything going up even as catch quotas stay even =
or drop, he's having trouble getting food of his own.
''It's not even possible to go fishing,'' said Fitzell, who splits his =
time between the South Shore and Maine. ''You can't even break even.''
Earlier this month, he went to the Salvation Army's food pantry in =
Plymouth for the first time. In so doing, he joined a growing number of =
South Shore residents turning to local food banks and soup kitchens for =
In particular, the elderly and two-parent families increasingly are =
joining the ranks of the ''near homeless,'' struggling in the face of =
soaring food, medical, fuel and other costs to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, food banks are facing tough times: the result of rising need =
and the reduced amount of state and federal aid available this year.
The Pantry Shelf in Quincy distributed food to 1,040 people in November, =
more than any November in the organization's 60-year history, said Laura =
Stracco, executive director of Interfaith Social Services, which runs =
''Our clients tell us high prescription drug costs and medical insurance =
coverage along with the price of fuel and food have them in a bind,'' =
Fuel prices are now near $100 a barrel, affecting everyone from =
fishermen like Fitzell to seniors struggling to pay heating oil bills =
(up 30 percent over last winter in Massachusetts) to large families =
shuttling around town.
Even food, including staples, has become more expensive.
In 2007, the cost of food rose 4.5 percent, according to the Bureau of =
Labor Statistics. Milk prices went up 20 percent, with eggs up more than =
All this has contributed to growing hunger and food insecurity - at a =
time when many nonprofits find themselves more and more challenged to =
keep up with demand.
A 34-year-old medical assistant and single parent of four picking up =
food at The Pantry Shelf last week said her paycheck only stretches so =
''I work full time, but with the cost of living - the day care and car =
bills so I can work - making ends meet with four children is hard,'' the =
Quincy woman said.
She's not alone. Statewide, hunger and food insecurity have increased =
among Massachusetts families from 6.4 percent in 2000-2002 to 7.8 =
percent in 2003-2005, according to Project Bread.
Local numbers show the same trend of increasing demand for food =
In the past year, the number of people receiving help from the food =
pantry run by the Plymouth Coalition for the Homeless in Kingston has =
increased by 1,400, said Jean Delaney, a case manager. The pantry serves =
12 South Shore communities.
The Pantry Shelf, meanwhile, assisted 2,700 individuals in the first =
quarter of 2007 - a 13 percent increase over the same period the =
The number of people over age 60 receiving help has increased by 32 =
percent, while there has been an 11 percent increase in the number of =
children served, Stracco said.
''More two-parent households have begun coming to us. That's not the =
norm, which has been mostly single-parent families,'' she said.
The 600 Eastern Massachusetts pantries supplied by The Greater Boston =
Food Bank have reported increases in demand between 5 and 30 percent, =
said Stephanie Nichols, the bank's public relations manager.
''Member agencies on average receive more than 50 percent of their food =
from us, and this past fiscal year we distributed nearly 29 million =
pounds, feeding 83,000 people a week,'' said Nichols.
The Pantry Shelf serves 10 South Shore communities, but there have been =
inquiries from people in Boston and as far away as New Hampshire about =
''Basically, they are becoming desperate,'' Stracco said.
The Quincy pantry's coordinator, Bettyanne Lang, has noticed an influx =
of new clients over the past few weeks as well as some former clients =
''They have their jobs and they have a place to live, but they just =
can't afford to feed a family,'' she said.
Stracco said she has more than doubled the number of applications that =
Interfaith Social Services submits to foundations for grant money to =
keep the food pantry's shelves stocked.
Increasing demand has meant that local pantries are relying more on The =
Greater Boston Food Bank, which at the same time has seen a 27 percent =
decrease in commodities distributed nationally by the federal =
There is hope a farm bill will pass, increasing federal funding for food =
banks to $250 million.
But at Thanksgiving, hoping to head off a shortfall, America's Second =
Harvest, the umbrella organization for the nation's food banks, issued =
an urgent call for 400 truckloads of food. That is the equivalent of =
11.7 million meals.
As of a week ago, 272 loads had been received.
''We're a little short, but we have a line on some more,'' spokesman =
Ross Fraser said.
Massachusetts food banks are also dealing with a $1 million cut in the =
state's Emergency Food Assistance Program, which Nichols said translates =
into about 830,000 fewer meals.
Robert Sears may be reached at email@example.com .
Edward B. Colby contributed to this report. He may be reached at =
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<P><FONT size=3D+1><B>Less aid, less food - MORE NEEDY: Cash-hungry food =
to cope as growing numbers enter the ranks of =91near =
<TABLE cellSpacing=3D6 cellPadding=3D0 width=3D190 align=3Dright =
border=3D0><BR><SPAN class=3Dcaption><STRONG><FONT face=3DVerdana=20
size=3D1>Fisherman Keith Fitzell, 47, eats lunch at the Salvation =
Plymouth. Rough weather, stricter fishing regulations and rising =
prices have made for hard times. (AMELIA KUNHARDT/The Patriot=20
<P><I>By ROBERT SEARS<BR>The Patriot Ledger</I></P>
<P>As a fisherman, Keith Fitzell=92s job is to put food on the table. =
prices of most everything going up even as catch quotas stay even or =
having trouble getting food of his own.<BR><BR>=91=91It=92s not even =
possible to go=20
fishing,=92=92 said Fitzell, who splits his time between the South Shore =
=91=91You can=92t even break even.=92=92<BR><BR>Earlier this month, he =
went to the=20
Salvation Army=92s food pantry in Plymouth for the first time. In so =
joined a growing number of South Shore residents turning to local food =
soup kitchens for help.<BR><BR>In particular, the elderly and two-parent =
families increasingly are joining the ranks of the =91=91near =
in the face of soaring food, medical, fuel and other costs to make ends=20
meet.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, food banks are facing tough times: the result of =
need and the reduced amount of state and federal aid available this=20
year.<BR><BR>The Pantry Shelf in Quincy distributed food to 1,040 people =
November, more than any November in the organization=92s 60-year =
Laura Stracco, executive director of Interfaith Social Services, which =
program.<BR><BR>=91=91Our clients tell us high prescription drug costs =
insurance coverage along with the price of fuel and food have them in a =
she said.<BR><BR>Fuel prices are now near $100 a barrel, affecting =
fishermen like Fitzell to seniors struggling to pay heating oil bills =
percent over last winter in Massachusetts) to large families shuttling =
<DIV style=3D"FLOAT: left; MARGIN-RIGHT: 5px">
<FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT><A=20
<P>Even food, including staples, has become more expensive.<BR><BR>In =
cost of food rose 4.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor =
prices went up 20 percent, with eggs up more than 40 percent.<BR><BR>All =
has contributed to growing hunger and food insecurity - at a time when =
nonprofits find themselves more and more challenged to keep up with=20
<P>A 34-year-old medical assistant and single parent of four picking up =
The Pantry Shelf last week said her paycheck only stretches so =
work full time, but with the cost of living - the day care and car bills =
can work - making ends meet with four children is hard,=92=92 the Quincy =
said.<BR><BR>She=92s not alone. Statewide, hunger and food insecurity =
increased among Massachusetts families from 6.4 percent in 2000-2002 to =
percent in 2003-2005, according to Project Bread.<BR><BR>Local numbers =
same trend of increasing demand for food assistance.<BR><BR>In the past =
the number of people receiving help from the food pantry run by the =
Coalition for the Homeless in Kingston has increased by 1,400, said Jean =
Delaney, a case manager. The pantry serves 12 South Shore=20
communities.<BR><BR>The Pantry Shelf, meanwhile, assisted 2,700 =
the first quarter of 2007 - a 13 percent increase over the same period =
previous year.<BR><BR>The number of people over age 60 receiving help =
increased by 32 percent, while there has been an 11 percent increase in =
number of children served, Stracco said.<BR><BR>=91=91More two-parent =
have begun coming to us. That=92s not the norm, which has been mostly=20
single-parent families,=92=92 she said.<BR><BR>The 600 Eastern =
pantries supplied by The Greater Boston Food Bank have reported =
demand between 5 and 30 percent, said Stephanie Nichols, the bank=92s =
relations manager.<BR><BR>=91=91Member agencies on average receive more =
percent of their food from us, and this past fiscal year we distributed =
29 million pounds, feeding 83,000 people a week,=92=92 said =
Pantry Shelf serves 10 South Shore communities, but there have been =
from people in Boston and as far away as New Hampshire about obtaining=20
food.<BR><BR>=91=91Basically, they are becoming desperate,=92=92 Stracco =
said.<BR><BR>The Quincy pantry=92s coordinator, Bettyanne Lang, has =
influx of new clients over the past few weeks as well as some former =
returning.<BR><BR>=91=91They have their jobs and they have a place to =
live, but they=20
just can=92t afford to feed a family,=92=92 she =
strained</B><BR><BR>Stracco said she has more than doubled the number of =
applications that Interfaith Social Services submits to foundations for =
money to keep the food pantry=92s shelves stocked.<BR><BR>Increasing =
meant that local pantries are relying more on The Greater Boston Food =
which at the same time has seen a 27 percent decrease in commodities =
nationally by the federal government.<BR><BR>There is hope a farm bill =
pass, increasing federal funding for food banks to $250 =
Thanksgiving, hoping to head off a shortfall, America=92s Second =
umbrella organization for the nation=92s food banks, issued an urgent =
call for 400=20
truckloads of food. That is the equivalent of 11.7 million =
meals.<BR><BR>As of a=20
week ago, 272 loads had been received.<BR><BR>=91=91We=92re a little =
short, but we=20
have a line on some more,=92=92 spokesman Ross Fraser =
food banks are also dealing with a $1 million cut in the state=92s =
Assistance Program, which Nichols said translates into about 830,000 =
meals.<BR><BR><I>Robert Sears may be reached at <A=20
.</I><BR><BR><I>Edward B. Colby contributed to this report. He may be =
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