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WASHINGTON (RNS) More than one in seven American households found it hard to put enough food on the table last year, according to figures released Monday (Nov. 16) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The recession has made the problem of hunger worse, and it has also made it more visible,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, a Christian anti-hunger group. “Increased public awareness and the administration’s commitment gives me hope.”
Households experiencing “food insecurity” jumped 3.5 percent in 2008, to 14.6 million, the largest one-year increase since the USDA began publishing data in 1995.
SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provided by the USDA for low-income families, distributed benefits to more than 36 million people in August 2009, a 24 percent increase over the previous year.
Half of the people receiving SNAP assistance were children.
According to the USDA, 4.3 million more children were food insecure in 2008 than in 2007, bringing the number to 16.7 million. In many cases, children are protected from a change in their eating patterns, but both children and adults across 506,000 households experienced times of very low food security last year.
“Child hunger is not just a casualty of the recession. It was a problem before the recession, and unless we take the necessary steps, kids will continue to suffer after the economy recovers,” said Beckmann.
By Angela Abbamonte
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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