Food Insecurity Expands As The Drought Continues
Few think of summer, a season of packing the car and heading down the shore, as the time of greatest need. But as summer comes to a close and kids are getting ready to head back to school, I think about all of the families who have been struggling the last few months. Many families in the Delaware Valley are reeling from the financial burden summer can bring for those having trouble putting food on the table. With the kids’ home from school, the task of providing meals that would otherwise be covered by free and reduced lunch at school is a daunting task.
Unfortunately, it’s about to get worse. The current drought conditions facing our nation is causing the price of corn, one of our most valuable resources in national and international markets, to jump, and soybean prices are reaching record highs. Additionally, 44% of US cattle farms are in areas experiencing at the very least a severe drought, substantially thinning the herds. Within the next two months, we’ll start feeling the effects of the drought in our wallets, and, for some of us, in the pits of our stomachs. Beef, poultry, and dairy, which are natural sources of animal protein and nutrients important for both adults and growing children, will be just that much further out of reach, and will remain there through 2013.
In addition to these price increases, we’ll be seeing prices of other commodities, like fuel, shoot up even after the temperatures drop in the fall; we don’t yet have a complete picture of the damage that this drought has done and will continue to do, but as the farmers in our heartland continue to pray for rain, we can expect that the food that Americans depend on will come with a higher price tag.
These issues are out of our control but what we can control is our ability to come up with new and creative solutions to reaching our goal of providing dependable food access to people in need. Philabundance’s second annual Hunger Symposium is dedicated to discussing these implications for hunger relief organizations and ways to tap into various food sources to acquire the much needed food for those struggling to provide for their families.
Every season comes with a unique type of need; unfortunately, once the drought passes, the need won’t dry up. We, and the people who benefit from every can, box, and check that you graciously donate, are ever thankful for your generosity. But now, with more than 900,000 food insecure people in Delaware Valley alone, your continued benevolence is crucial. Please join me and all of us at Philabundance, in making sure that despite the drought ravaging our crops, no Delaware Valley neighbor will go hungry.