food-bank patrons: over a third work [Ohio study] FWD

Tom Boland (
Tue, 12 May 1998 20:30:35 -0700 (PDT)

FWD 5/8/98


    By Alice Thomas
    Columbus {OH] Dispatch Staff Reporter

A statewide study of people who get help from food banks says 34 percent
live in homes with someone working and a third are younger than 18.

Hunger Faces and Facts, which was released yesterday, is based on about
1,800 interviews done early last year at six Ohio food banks, including
Mid-Ohio FoodBank in Columbus. It ties into a national hunger study
released in March, which reported usage up at food banks.

"They're not enjoying the economic boom like everyone else is, and our
whole charity system is not designed to'' handle it, said Matt Habash,
director of Mid-Ohio.

The study compares local, state and national statistics. In all three
categories, women went to food banks more than men, and whites more than

Twenty-two percent of the adult visitors statewide reported missing meals,
and 13 percent said they were homeless. Fifty-three percent of families
said they lived in single- parent households.

Another, larger survey done last winter at the same food banks found that
even more food-bank users were employed: About 44 percent reported working,
including those who said they "sometimes'' work. In central Ohio, that
number was even higher -- 48 percent.

Mid-Ohio reported that 23 percent of respondents worked full time, 15
percent part time, and 10 percent sometimes. Fifty-two percent said they
didn't work.

"These findings provide an early warning signal that hunger and poverty is
continuing to increase across Ohio,'' said Lisa Hamler-Podolski, director
of the Ohio Food Policy & Anti-Poverty Action Center.

She said solutions include enacting a state earned-income tax credit,
increasing the minimum wage, improving public transportation to grocery
stores and jobs and better publicizing food stamps.

Ohio's food banks distributed an estimated $59 million worth of food to 2.6
million people last year, said Second Harvest, a group of food banks that
commissioned the study.


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