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MA Food Banks Hungry for Holiday Donations

December 10, 2007

Boston, MA – With hunger on the rise in the state, food banks are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping for a big jump in holiday donations. The latest census figures show 450,000 people in the Bay State lack adequate food, and proportionately, children have the highest need.

Catherine D'Amato, president of the Greater Boston Food Bank, reports that holiday giving accounts for 60 percent of their year-round donations. She says the holidays are when many people realize how fortunate they are, but she worries that it may be difficult for families to donate this winter.

"So many families are being hit with increased fuel costs, increased oil bills, and so on. We're not seeing donations as often, or as large, as we used to."

She believes one "fix" for the problem could be the U.S. Farm Bill, which has been delayed for two years in the Senate. The bill provides for things like food stamps and subsidies for farmers.

D'Amato notes, that while 25 percent of the population is children, almost 40 percent of their donations go to kids. Ashley White, with the Children's Defense Fund, says children don't have a voice, and are left to rely on parents and policy to get them food.

"It's just shameful that in this richest nation, there are 12.6 million children living in households struggling against hunger in the past year."

Kevin Clay/John Robinson, Public News Service - MA