- Title: USA: As unemployment grows some local food banks face shortages
- Date: 8th November 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS OF WOMAN WITH HER DAUGHTERS IN LINE AT FOOD BANK
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2009 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Employment,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAECVVMH2FOS5Q7R2YANN0UV5TG
- Story Text: As the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent for the first time in 26-1/2 years, a food bank serving 21 counties in Texas is seeing a 60 percent increase in the need for food supplies.
The Capital Area Food Bank's CEO David Davenport fears there may soon be a shortage food in the Lone Star state.
Over the last year the food bank has distributed 22 million pounds of food, compared to just 15 million last year. Davenport says he expects the number to reach 25 million pounds by the year's end.
Says Davenport, "The jobs numbers that came out today in the United States with a 10 percent unemployment rate is just showing that these types of programs and these types of activitites are needed even more here in Texas."
While cities like Austin have fared better than others with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, rural areas of the state haven't been as lucky.
The food bank's mobile pantry ventures 120 miles north east of Austin to the town of Kosse once a month. Betty Anderson is one of the residents who lines up at the social hall to collect provisions including rice, beans and meat.
Anderson says that while Texans pride themselves on their independence, in these times, people welcome the donation.
"I feel that we're in an area where there's not very many jobs, so it's kind of like community helping each other," says Anderson.
On her first visit to the food bank, resident Sissy Cobb says she is grateful that she will save a little money this month.
"My jobs are in the oil field and the oil fields have absolutely left. So I just have my little janitor office for production services, it's all that...My husband is retired so that's the only income we have left is what's in the oil field. So I just thank god for what we do have left, because everything else is gone."
20-year-old Brian Thomas also lives in the nearby area. After eight months of searching Thomas landed a job at the nearby water plant and is saving to buy a car so that he does not have to ride his bicycle 23 miles to get there.
"It'll probably last me about a week or two, I can make the food last me pretty long and it's really going to help out because | have to save my pennies right now."
When the food bank started coming to this area six months ago, just 60 families showed up. Now, there are close to 170.
The US Department of Agriculture cited in 2007, before the recession, that more than one in 10 Americans had low or very low "food security." In Texas the numbers are higher. Feeding America, the national network of food banks, reports that in one in five children here face food insecurity.
Says Davenport, "I anticiptae that as the next 4-6 months go on we'll continue to break distribution records, we'll continue to have to expand programs like the mobile pantry and we'll continue to have to do more with less resources."
Davenport and his staff are focused on keeping the supply of healthy and nutritional food going, but he warns that the U.S. government must take action soon to shrink the hunger lines or the state of Texas will find itself in crisis.
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