Thursday, September 1, 2011
Demand is up but supplies are down at the San Diego Food Bank, and the Food Bank is worried things could get worse.
SAN DIEGO More than 100,000 people are using the Food Bank’s emergency food services. That’s a 166 percent increase from just five years ago.
The USDA had been providing additional food during the recession. But beginning this month the assistance will return to pre-recession levels, meaning a family of four will receive five food items a month instead of 10.
On top of that, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would further reduce the allocation, possibly down to three items per family. The legislation still has to make it through the Senate, but Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) said she’s concerned the cuts could become a reality.
"If you go down to having just three items for people at the start of every month, that’s not going to be helpful at all," she said.
The cuts could also be bad news for seniors using the food bank. Some may have to be dropped from a program created especially for seniors if the cuts are enacted. Gloria Richardson said before she began using the food bank she would sometimes go without eating one or two days a month.
"In the case like this, who do you tell they can’t be on the program if they qualify?" she asked. "There are a lot of people out that need the food that we get."
The Food Bank estimates its supply of USDA food will be reduced by nearly 6 million pounds this year unless previous supplies are restored and additional cuts aren’t made.
Food Bank officials are encouraging people to call their Congressional representatives to ask them to keep funding for foods banks in place.