Philabundance and the Hunger Relief Network Experiencing 29 Percent Increase in Need for Food Assistance and 98 Percent Increase Over the Past Three Years
Philabundance and food pantries across the region need community support to keep shelves stocked
Philadelphia, Pa- November 20, 2012- Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and their agencies are experiencing an increase in need for the third consecutive year. A recent poll of neighborhood food pantries and neighborhood distributions show a 29 percent increase in need compared to the year before. Over the last three years, the need has increased 98 percent.
The hunger relief network is made up of almost 500 faith-based and community groups that operate food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens that serve their neighborhoods. These organizations are Philabundance partners that serve their communities with food from Philabundance and other resources. The network is already stretched thin due to lack of resources, growing need and less available food.
In 2010, Philabundance began asking their hunger relief partners to answer a number of questions that relate to the hunger relief network. Respondents weigh in on issues that affect them like the number of people coming to them for food, if they have enough food to feed people coming to them and other ways they acquire enough food to meet the demand. Each year, the number of people seeking out food increases.
The agency network is seeing 62 percent of food pantries and neighborhood distributions having trouble providing enough food to people they serve. Some agencies are forced to provide each family with less food, and some agencies find they have to turn new people away, while others reduce their operating hours. Many agencies are scrambling to find more food donations and purchasing more food if they can.
“Hunger relief efforts mainly fall on the charitable system, due to the governments’ limited resources and current fiscal challenges. The hunger safety network is being stretched to the limit during a time of huge need and declining resources,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “If a food pantry needs to turn a family down because they don’t have food to give out, where do people go? This is a question we are trying to avoid.”
Philabundance recently suffered a dry food shortage due to the rising demand and decrease dry food donations. Neighbors in the Delaware Valley answered Philabundance’s call for help to get them through that rough patch. Philabundance is working to have a stable dry food supply all year-round but needs continuous support from the community. Philabundance needs to provide food to nearly 500 faith-based and community groups that operate food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens that serve their neighborhoods.
Neighbors can help keep shelves stocked at Philabundance and area food pantries all year round by holding a food drive in their community, school or workplace, donating money and volunteering. For more information, please call 215-339-0900 or visit www.philabundance.org.
Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to people in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. Philabundance provides a full plate of services through neighborhood distribution programs and a network of close to 500 member agencies in 9 counties. Philabundance serves approximately 65,000 people per week at a cost of 50 cents per meal. There are more than 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2011, Philabundance distributed 21 million pounds of food. For more information about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900. Visit us on Facebook, Facebook.com/Philabundance and follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/Philabundance. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please call Philabundance’s Food Help Line, 800-319-Food (3663).