During Halloween season, a haunting worry grips many of our neighbors – the dread of going hungry. Did you know that 1 in 8 Americans are food insecure? This number has risen from last year, marking the largest annual increase in hunger since the Great Recession in 2008. This year, Pennsylvanians have been particularly affected. SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program) emergency allotments were reduced, resulting in a “hunger cliff.” People nationwide face hunger, affected by factors like the rising costs of groceries, chronic health conditions, poverty, and lack of food access.
Earlier this year, SNAP Emergency allotments were cut, leaving the people we serve vulnerable. These SNAP EAs played a crucial role in reducing hardship for Pennsylvanians. With their reduction, nearly 1.88 million recipients were affected. On average, PA households saw their SNAP benefits decrease by $92 per person per month, a significant 36% drop in purchasing power. And with ongoing inflation, those experiencing food insecurity have had to make tough decisions—like choosing between buying food and paying for medicine, utilities, rent, or mortgages.
Since the pandemic began, food insecurity has surged across all demographics. Food banks and pantries are now overwhelmed by the rising demand, due to the increasing cost of food and fewer donations. We’re now facing a dual challenge: a rise in those seeking help and higher operational costs.
This Halloween, remember that hunger is far scarier than any ghost or ghoul. Let’s unite and support those in need. Consider helping Philabundance through food or monetary donations, volunteering, hosting a food drive, or advocating for hunger-relief programs. We can’t tackle this task alone!