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Report: One in Seven Hungry in Virginia

PHOTO: A new report from the Food Research and Action Center says slightly more than 15 percent of Virginians risk going hungry and don't always have enough money for food. Photo courtesy of letsmove.gov.
PHOTO: A new report from the Food Research and Action Center says slightly more than 15 percent of Virginians risk going hungry and don't always have enough money for food. Photo courtesy of letsmove.gov.
April 10, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - One Virginian in every seven risks going hungry, according to a new report, and that number is higher in some parts of the state.

According to a new national analysis from the Food Research and Action Center, slightly more than 15 percent of Virginians live with food hardship. Seventeen percent in Hampton Roads and 18 percent in Richmond risk not having enough to eat.

LaTonya Reed, director of Virginia Hunger Solutions, said the slowly improving economy hasn't really changed that picture.

"There's still great need out there," she said. "There are way too many people, far too many people, who are continuing to struggle to put food on their tables, to provide their families with nutritious meals."

The research from FRAC - titled "How Hungry is America?" - tallied how many Americans couldn't afford to buy food at some time during 2014. Nationally, that number is slightly more than 17 percent - one in six.

The Republican-controlled Congress is threatening to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - food stamps - as a budget-cutting measure. Reed said trimming the SNAP program is a terrible idea when the needs are still so great.

"It is important to reach out to elected officials and let them know that they need to take steps to strengthen our nutrition safety net," she said, "not to weaken it but to truly strengthen it."

Reed said SNAP was cut last year and has been a regular target for reductions for several years. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, SNAP has very low rates of waste, fraud and abuse.

The report is online at frac.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA