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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Food insecurity in the land of plenty

High joblessness and the weak economic recovery pushed the ranks of the poor in the U.S. to 46.2 million in 2010 -- the fourth straight increase and the largest number of people living in poverty since record-keeping began 52 years ago, the Census Bureau reported on September 13.  Census Bureau figures showed that 46.2 million people, nearly one in six Americans, live in poverty.  By the Census Bureau's latest measure, the poverty threshold last year was an income of $11,139 for one person and $22,314 for a family of four.  The two of us would have a very difficult time living on even the family of four amount. 

I live in Georgia which currently has a 18.7% poverty rate.  The new Census data shows that Georgia's poverty rate was the third highest in the country in 2010, up two spots from the previous year, with more than 1.8 million residents counted among the poor.  AARP  recently reported that nearly 413,000 people 60 and older in Georgia have incomes low enough to make them eligible for food stamps, but three-fourths of them are not enrolled.

I have donated to and volunteered for Heifer International for years because it address long term economic solutions using food production as a tool.  Not many people realize that poverty in this country is so bad that Heifer has projects in several states.  Right now they are trying to raise money for a food growing project in a part of the Portland area where persistent food insecurity exists as it does in many cities.  That is a longer term solution and should get our support.  Our local food banks also need support in the form of food or cash donations or volunteer hours.  What do you do to help those living in poverty?

2 comments:

  1. I live in the Portland Oregon metro area. I am assuming you are talking about Portland Ga. Here in our area, community gardens are springing up next to places like the McMenamins brew pub and vacant lots. But the winters are long and very wet. Living with food insecurity is such a hurtful thing. I really don't know if our local agencies and food banks are capable of keeping up.

    We should all post about this on the same day to make everyone more aware of the need for a helping hand.

    b

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  2. B - Actually the project is in Portland, OR. It is the Heifer International project called The Eating Garden Veggies, Animal Care, Training and Sharing (EATS) at Village Gardens. There are projects in southern GA, AL, LA and elsewhere in this country as well. You are right about the need to bring this to people's attention.

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