Choosing Between Heat or Eat in CT
HARTFORD, Conn. - Having to make a choice between staying warm and eating is becoming more common in Connecticut, just as old man winter gets ready to pounce. The anti-hunger group, Foodshare, says a growing number of people are faced with deciding whether to pay a heating bill or put food on the table.
Gloria McAdam, executive director of Foodshare, says poverty in Connecticut is the root problem that must be addressed.
"We have to make sure people have enough income to pay all their bills - pay the heat bills, pay the rent and buy groceries when they're done."
According to the Feeding America 2010 Hunger Study, more than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
Operation Fuel in Connecticut says one solution may be to set utility rates based on people's ability to pay, rather than a standard rate for all. Pat Wrice, executive director of Operation Fuel, says setting utility rates based on the ability to pay would help keep people from having to choose between eating and staying warm.
"Policies should be in place that protect people from having to make those choices, and one thing Operation Fuel has been advocating for several years now is an affordable utility rate."
The issues of hunger and heat are connected and rooted in poverty, Wrice adds.
The full hunger study is available at http://feedingamerica.org/faces-of-hunger/hunger-in-america-2010.aspx.